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Synopsis Home Leviticus Chapter 1
Leviticus
Introduction
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapters 4 to 7
Chapters 8 and 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapters 13 and 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapters 19 and 20
Chapters 21 and 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27

God speaking out of the tabernacle, accessible by a provided mediation, sacrifice and priesthood

God speaks not from Sinai, but out of the tabernacle, where He is sought; where, according to the pattern of His glory, but according also to the need of those who seek His presence, He is in relationship with the people by mediation and sacrifice. In Sinai, in terrible glory, He demanded, and proposed terms of, obedience, and thereupon promised His favour. In this the communication was direct, but the people could not bear it. Here He is accessible to the sinner and to the saint, but by a provided mediation and priesthood. But then the centre and ground of our access to God thus is Christ's obedience and offering. This therefore is first presented to us when God speaks in the tabernacle.

The order of the sacrifices

The order of these sacrifices is first to be remarked. The order of their application is uniformly opposed to the order of their institution. There are four great classes of offerings: 1, The burnt-offering; 2, The meat-offering; 3, The peace-offering; and 4, The sin-offering. I name them in the order of their institution, but, in their application, when offered together, the sin-offerings always come first, for there it is restoration to God [1] ; and, in approaching God by sacrifice, man must approach by the efficacy of that which takes away his sins, in that they have been borne by another. But in presenting the Lord Jesus Himself as the great sacrifice, His being made sin is a consequence of His offering Himself in perfectness to God, and though as made sin for us, still in His own perfectness, and for the divine glory, we say, His Father's glory; this is a great but blessed mystery. He gives Himself up, coming to do His Father's will, and is made for us sin, Him who knew no sin, and undergoes death.

Christ the one all-perfect Sacrifice

Furthermore, our sins being put away, the source of communion is thus in the excellency of Christ Himself, and in His offering, who offers Himself to God, without spot; glorifying God by death inasmuch as sin was there before Him and death by sin; and He gives Himself wholly up to God's glory in respect of this state [2] , and then our presentation according to the preciousness of this on high, though the actual bearing of our sins be of absolute necessity to introduce us into this communion. In this is the difference of the great day of atonement. Then the blood was put on the mercy-seat in the holiest; but this, while giving access there on the ground of perfect cleansing through an offering of infinite value, was in respect of actual sins and defilement, not the pure sweet savour of the offering in itself to God. Yet it supposed sin. The offering would not have had its own character nor value if it had not. Hence, as presenting Christ, and our approach to God when sin has been fully dealt with and holiness tested, the burnt-offering, meat-offering, and peace-offering (in which latter our communion with God is presented to us), come first, and then the sin-offerings apart; needful, primarily needful to us, but not the expression of the personal perfectness of Christ, but of His sin-bearing, though perfectness were needed for that.

It is evident, from what I have said, that it is Christ we are to consider in the sacrifices which are about to engage our attention: the various forms of value and efficacy which attach to that one all-perfect sacrifice. It is true, we may consider the Christian in a subordinate point of view as presented to us here, for he should present his body a living sacrifice. He, by the fruits of charity, should present sacrifices of sweet savour, acceptable to our God by Jesus Christ; but our object now is to consider Christ in them.

The distinction between the sin-offerings and all the others

I have said that there are four great classes presented to us -- burnt-offerings, meat-offerings, peace-offerings, and offerings for sin. These may be seen thus classed in chapter 10 of the Epistle to the Hebrews. But then there is a very essential distinction which divides these four into two separate classes -- the sin-offerings, and all the others. The sin-offerings, as such, were not characterised as offerings made by fire, of a sweet savour unto Jehovah (although the fat was in most of them burnt on the altar, and in this respect the sweet savour was there, and so it is once said, chapter 4: 31; for indeed the perfection of Christ was there though bearing our sins), the others were distinctly so characterised. Positive sins were seen in the sin-offerings: they were charged with sins. He that touched those of them which fully bore this character, as being for the whole people [3] (Lev. 16, Num. 19), was defiled. But in the case of the burnt-offering, though not brought for positive sins, sin is supposed; there blood was shed, and it was for propitiation, but burnt on the altar, and all was a sweet savour to God. It was Christ's whole sacrifice of Himself to God, and perfect as an offering in every respect, though sin, as such, was the occasion of it. By this sacrifice, in result, sin will be put away out of God's sight for ever -- what joy! see John 1: 29 and Hebrews 9: 26. But then we brought to the consciousness of our state of sin say, He was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. This is a consequence, but the basis is that, besides bearing our sins, He glorified God perfectly there where He was made sin. It was as in the place of sin that His obedience was perfect and God perfectly glorified in all He is (John 13 and 17). Indeed there is but one word for sin and sin-offering in the original. They were burnt, but not on the altar; the fat, save in one case, of which we may speak hereafter, was (chap. 4). The other offerings were offerings made by fire of a sweet savour unto Jehovah -- they present Christ's perfect offering of Himself to God, not the imposition of sins on the substitute by the Holy One, the Judge.

These two points in the sacrifice of Christ are very distinct and very precious. God has made Him to be sin for us, Him who knew no sin: but also is it true, that through the eternal Spirit He offered Himself without spot to God. Let us consider this latter, as first in the order presented in Leviticus, and naturally so.

The burnt-offering

The first sort of sacrifice, the most complete and characteristic of those characterised by being offerings made by fire of a sweet savour, was the burnt-offering. The offerer was to bring his offering [4] , in order to his acceptance with God, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and to kill it before Jehovah.

The place of the tabernacle ritual: (1) The Holy of holies

First, of the place, the whole scene of the tabernacle ritual consisted of three parts: first, the holiest of all, the innermost part of the boarded space covered with tents, separated from the rest by a veil which hung before it, and within which was the ark of the covenant and the cherubim overshadowing the mercy-seat, and NOTHING ELSE. This was the throne of God, the type also of Christ, in whom God is revealed, the true ark of the covenant with the mercy-seat over it.

(2) The Holy place

The veil, the apostle tells us, signified that the way into the holiest was not yet made manifest while the old economy subsisted [5] . Immediately outside the veil -- its efficacy, however entering within, and whence, indeed, on certain occasions, incense was taken in a censer and offered within -- stood the golden altar of incense. In the same, or outer chamber of the tabernacle, called the holy, as distinguished from the most holy place, or holy of holies, stood, on either side, the shewbread and the candlestick -- types, the former of Christ incarnate, the true bread in union with and head of the twelve tribes, on the one hand; and the latter, of the perfection [6] (still, I have no doubt, in connection with Israel in the latter day) of the Spirit, as giving light, on the other. The church owns Christ thus, and the Holy Ghost dwells in it, but what characterises it, as such, is the knowledge of a heavenly and glorified Christ, and the Holy Ghost, as in divine communications, present in unity in it. These figures, on the other hand, give us Christ in His earthly relation, and the Holy Ghost in His various displays of power, when God's earthly system is established. Compare Zechariah 4, and Revelation 11 where there is the testimony to, but not the actual perfection of, the candlestick; God's testimony on the earth. The Epistle to the Hebrews affords us all needed light as to how far and with what changes, these figures can be applied now. But that epistle never speaks of the proper relationships and privileges of the church and Christians. These are viewed as pilgrims on earth, an earthly people. There is no union with Christ. He is in heaven and we in need on earth; no mention of the Father's name, but only so much the more precious as to our access to God, and needed supplies of grace for our path down here. It is properly Christian; we are partakers of the heavenly calling; but it may reach out and give what is available for the remnant, slain after the church is gone. Into the holy place the body of the priests, and not merely the high priest, entered continually, but they only. We know who, and who alone, can now thus enter, even those who are made kings and priests, the true saints of God: only, we can add, that the veil that hid the holiest and barred the entrance is rent from top to bottom, not to be renewed again between us and God. We have boldness to enter into the holiest. The veil has been rent in His flesh. He is not merely bread from heaven or incarnate, but put to death, denoted by flesh and blood, and the door fully opened for us to enter in spirit where Christ is. Our ordinary privilege and title is in the holy place -- type of the created heaven, as the most holy is of the heaven of heavens, as it is called. In a certain sense, as to spiritual approach and intercourse, the veil being rent, there is no separation between the two, though in the light which no man can approach unto God dwells inaccessible. In the heavenly places we now are as priests, though only in spirit.

Christ's approach to God in the perfect offering of Himself

In approaching to this was the outside court, the court of the tabernacle of the congregation [7] . In entering this part, the first thing met with was the altar of burnt-offering, and between that and the tabernacle the laver, where the priests washed [8] when they entered into the tabernacle, or were occupied at the altar, to perform their service. It is evident that we approach solely by the sacrifice of Christ, and that we must be washed with water by the word before we can serve in the sanctuary. We have need also, as priests, of having our feet, at least, washed by our Advocate on high for our continual service there. (See John 13.) [9]

Christ also thus approached, but it was in the perfect offering of Himself, not by the offering of another. Nothing can be more touching, or more worthy of profound attention, than the manner in which Jesus thus voluntarily presents Himself, that God may be fully, completely, glorified in Him. Silent in His sufferings, we see that His silence was the result of a profound and perfect determination to give Himself up, in obedience, to this glory -- a service, blessed be His name, perfectly accomplished, so that the Father rests in His love towards us.

Christ's absolute devotedness to the Father's glory shown in two ways

This devotedness to the Father's glory could, and indeed did, shew itself in two ways: it might be in service, and of every faculty of a living man here, in absolute devotedness to God, tested by fire even unto death; or in the giving up of life itself, giving up Himself -- His life unto death, for the divine glory, sin being there. Of this latter the burnt-offering speaks; of the former, I judge, the meat-offering: while both are the same in principle as entire devotedness of human existence to God -- one of the living acting man, the other the giving up of life unto death.

Christ both Victim and Offerer

So in the burnt-offering; he who offered, offered the victim up wholly to God at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. Thus Christ presented Himself for the accomplishment of the purpose and glory of God where sin was. In the type the victim and the offerer were necessarily distinct, but Christ was both, and the hands of the offerer were laud on the head of the victim in sign of identity.

Let us cite some of the passages which thus present Christ to us. First, in general, whether for life or for death, thus to glorify God; but exactly as taking the place of these sacrifices, the Spirit thus speaks of the Lord, in Hebrews 10, citing Psalm 40: "Then said I, Lo I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O God; yea, thy law is within my heart." Christ, then, giving Himself up entirely to the will of God is what replaces these sacrifices, the antitype of the shadows of good things to come. But of His life itself He thus speaks (John 10: 18): "I lay it down of myself, no one taketh it from me. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again: this commandment have I received of my Father." It was obedience, but obedience in the sacrifice of Himself; and so, speaking of His death, He says, "The prince of this world [Satan] cometh, and hath nothing in me; but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father hath given me commandment, so I do." So we read in Luke 9: "And it came to pass when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem." "Through the eternal Spirit he offered himself without spot to God" (Heb. 9: 14).

[1] As to acceptance, the Christian has no more conscience of sins; but the Israelite had never learnt this; and hence, as we have seen, his way of approaching served, as to the means, to portray the sinner's first coming to God. The import of Christ's sacrifice is often too little seen. Man must come as a sinner, and about and owning his sins. He cannot come truly otherwise, but when entered in peace into God's presence, feeble as we may be, we view it from God's side, and daily see more of the reality and value of this great fact which stands alone in the history of eternity, and on which all and eternal blessing is immutably founded. Every point and power of good and evil was there brought to an issue; the absolute enmity of man's heart against God revealed in grace; Satan's complete power over men; man (Christ) perfect in obedience and love to His Father in the very place needed when He was made sin; God perfect in justice against sin (it became Him), and perfect in love to the sinner. And this being accomplished, the perfect ground was laid in justice, and in what was accomplished and immutable, for the display of God's love and God's counsels, in what morally could not change.

[2] It is to be remarked that we read of no positive sin-offerings before the law. The clothing of Adam may suppose it, and Genesis 4: 7 may be taken to speak of it, but they are not professedly offered; burnt-offerings frequently. These suppose sin and death, and no coming to God but by sacrifice and death, and reconciliation through it. But the sacrifice is viewed in the perfect self-offering of Christ, so that God should be perfectly glorified in that which was infinitely precious in His sight, and all He was, righteousness, love, majesty, truth, purpose, all glorified in Christ's death so that He could freely act in His grace. Sin is supposed in it, and perfectness of self-sacrifice to God there where it was; but God glorified rather than individuals' sins borne. Hence worship according to the sweet savour of it is involved in it. A man far departed from God, as such I cannot come to God at all but on this ground, and it will remain valid for eternity and secure all things: the new heaven and earth are secured as the dwelling-place of righteousness by it. But my actual sins being put away is another thing. In one, the whole relationship of man, indeed of all things with God, is in question; in the other, my personal sins. Hence all acceptable sacrifice was of the former kind: sacrifices for sins when the relationship of a people with God was established, where every act referred to His actual presence.

[3] In these cases the burning was outside the camp. It was the same as to the scape-goat, which immediately connected itself with the rest of the work.

[4] The burnt-offerings as such were brought voluntarily; still, it seems clear that this is not the sense of the Hebrew word "ratzon" here, but for his acceptance, to be in divine favour. It remains, just the same doctrinally true that Christ, through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God.

[5] This is a signal instance that the order set up in the wilderness was not the image, but only a shadow of good things to come; for the veil unrent forbad entrance, the rent veil gives us, through the cross, full boldness to go in. So that in relationship to God there was contrast.

[6] The number seven is the number of perfection, and twelve also, as may be seen in many passages of Scripture: the former, of absolute completeness in good or evil; the latter, of completeness in human administration.

[7] The door of the tabernacle of the congregation is not simply the veil of the holy place, but the court where they entered from without. The altar of burnt-offering was at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

[8] It does not appear that the washing of the priests for their consecration was at the laver; that was according to what was within when they had got there. But it is always the word, which is figured by the water.

[9] In the first edition, I had added here the "renewing of the Holy Ghost," referring to Titus 3. But though the Holy Ghost surely renews the heart continually, yet I doubt the justice of the application of this passage here. The renewing seems more absolute there, anakainoseos. I might have simply left it out, perhaps, but that I would call the attention of the reader to the fact that "regeneration" is not the same word as being "born again." It is paliggenesia, not anagenneesis. It is only found again, to denote the millennium, in Matthew 19. It is in its import, the "washing of water," or being "born of water," not the reception of life by the Spirit. Water is a change of condition of what exists, not in itself receiving of life, which is being "born of the Spirit." it is the anakainosis.

The result of Christ's work -- introduction into the glory of God

How perfect and full of grace is this way of the Lord! as constant and devoted to draw near when God should be thus glorified, and submit to the consequences of His devotedness -- consequences imposed by the circumstances in which we are placed -- as man was to depart from God for his pleasure. He humbles Himself to death that the majesty and the love of God, His truth and righteousness, may have their full accomplishment through the exercise of His self-devoting love. Thus man, in His person, and through His work, is reconciled to God; takes the true and due relationship to Him; God being perfectly glorified in Him as to, and (wondrous to say) in the place of, sin, and that according to all the value of what Christ has done to glorify God. It was in the place of sin, as made it for us, for there it was God had to be glorified, and there all He is came out as nowhere else, and there perfectly, in love, light, righteousness, truth, majesty, as by man's sin He had been dishonoured; only that now it was infinite in value, God Himself, not merely human defacing of God's glory. I do not here say men, but man. And the blessed result was, not merely forgiveness, but introduction into the glory of God.

The offerer's part in the sacrifice without blemish

The sacrifice was to be without blemish; the application of this to Christ is too obvious to need comment. He was the Lamb "without blemish and without spot." The offerer [1] was to kill the bullock before Jehovah. This completed the likeness to Christ, for, though evidently He could not kill Himself, He laid down His life: no one took it from Him. He did it before Jehovah. This, in the ritual of the offering, was the offerer's part, the individual's, and so Christ's as man. Man saw, in Christ's death, man's judgment -- the power of Caiaphas, or the power of the world. But as offered, He offered Himself before Jehovah.

Jehovah's and the priest's part in the pure offering

And now comes Jehovah's and the priest's part. The offering was to be made the subject of the fire of the altar of God; it was cut in pieces and washed, given up, according to the purification of the sanctuary, to the trial of the judgment of God; for fire, as a symbol, signifies always the trial of the judgment of God. As to the washing with water, it made the sacrifice typically what Christ was essentially -- pure. But it has this importance, that the sanctification of it and ours is on the same principle and on the same standard. He is in this sense our sanctification. We are sanctified unto obedience. He came to do the will of His Father, and so, perfect from the beginning, learns obedience by the things which He suffered; perfectly obedient always, but His obedience put ever more thoroughly to the test, so that His obedience was continually deeper and more complete, though always perfect. He learned obedience, what it was to obey, and that by growing sufferings and the sense of what was around Him, and finally by the cross [2] . It was new to Him as a divine Person -- to us as rebels to God -- and He learned it in all its extent.

The water of cleansing and its symbolical use in baptism

Furthermore, this washing of water, in our case, is by the word, and Christ testifies of Himself that man should live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. This difference evidently and necessarily exists, that as Christ had life in Himself, and was the life (see John 1: 4; 1 John 1: 1, 2,) we, on the other hand, receive this life from Him; and while ever obedient to the written word Himself, the words which flowed from His lips were the expression of His life -- the direction of ours.

We may pursue the use of this water of cleansing yet farther. It is the power of the Spirit also, exercised as by the word and will of God [3] ; so even the commencement of this life in us. "Of his own will begat he us by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures" (James 1: 18). And so in 1 Peter 1: 23, we are born of the incorruptible seed of the word. But then this finds us walking in sins and living in them, or, in another aspect, dead in them. These are really the same thing, for being alive in sins is being spiritually dead towards God; only the latter sets out with our whole state discovered; the former deals with our responsibility. In Ephesians we are viewed as dead in sins; in Romans alive in them; in Colossians chiefly the latter, but the former is touched on. The cleansing must be, therefore, by the death and resurrection of Christ; death to sin and life to God in Him. Hence, on His death, was shed forth out of His side water and blood, cleansing as well as expiating power. Death then is the only cleanser of sin as well as its expiation. "He that is dead is freed [4] from sin," and water thus became the sign of death, for this alone cleansed. This truth of real sanctification was necessarily hidden under the law, save in figures: for the law applied itself to man, alive, and claimed his obedience. Christ's death revealed it. In us -- that is, in our flesh -- good does not dwell. Hence, in the symbolical use of water in baptism, we are told that as many of us as are baptised unto Christ, are baptised unto His death. But it is evident that we cannot stop at death in itself. In us it would be the herald and witness of condemnation, but, having life in Christ, death in Him is death to the life of sin and guilt. It is the communication of the life of Christ which enables us thus to treat the old man as dead, and ourselves as having been dead in trespasses and sins. The body is dead because of sin, and the Spirit is life because of righteousness, if Christ be in you. So we are told as to the truth of our natural state (it is not here what faith holds the old man to be if Christ be in us): "You, being dead in your sins, and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him." When we were dead in sin, He hath quickened us together with Him; and, as baptised unto His death, it is added, "that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." It is only in the power of a new life that we can hold ourselves to be dead to sin. And, indeed, it is only by known redemption we can say so. It is when we have apprehended the power of Christ's death and resurrection, and know that we are in Him through the Holy Ghost, that we can say, I am crucified with Him; I am not in the flesh. We know then, that this cleansing, which was apprehended as a mere moral effect in Judaism, is, by the communication of the life of Christ to us, that by which we are sanctified, according to the power of His death and resurrection, and sin as a law in our members is judged. The first Adam, as a living soul, corrupted himself; the last, as a quickening Spirit, imparts to us a new life.

Christ's baptism of fire

But, if it is the communication of the life of Christ which, through redemption, is the starting-point of this judgment of sin, it is evident that that life in Him was essentially and actually pure; in us, the flesh lusts against the Spirit. He, even according to the flesh, was born of God. But He was to undergo a baptism, not merely to fulfil all righteousness as living -- though perfectly pure -- in a baptism of water, but a trial of all that was in Him by the baptism of fire. "I have," says He, "a baptism to be baptised with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!"

Here, then, Christ, completely offered up to God for the full expression of His glory, undergoes the full trial of judgment. The fire tries what He is. He is salted with fire. The perfect holiness of God, in the power of His judgment, tries to the uttermost all that is in Him. The bloody sweat, and affecting supplication in the garden, the deep sorrow of the cross, in the touching consciousness of righteousness, "Why hast thou forsaken me?" -- as to any lightening of the trial, an unheeded cry -- all mark the full trial of the Son of God. Deep answered unto deep, -- all Jehovah's waves and billows passed over Him. But as He had offered Himself perfectly to the thorough trial, this consuming fire and trying of His inmost thoughts did, could, produce nought but a sweet savour to God. It is remarkable that the word used for burning the burnt-offering is not the same as that of the sin-offering, but the same as that of burning incense.

The sacrifice of a sweet savour

In this offering, then, we have Christ's perfect offering up of Himself, and then tried in His inmost parts by fiery trial of God's judgment. The consuming of His life was a sacrifice of a sweet savour, all infinitely agreeable to God -- not a thought, not a will, but was put to the test -- His life consumed in it; but all, without apparent answer to sustain, given up to God; all was purely a sweet savour to Him. But there was more than this. The greater part of what has been said would apply to the meat-offering. But the burnt-offering was to make atonement, an expression not used in chapter 2. There the personal intrinsic perfectness of Christ was tested, and the manner of His incarnation, what He was as man down here unfolded, but death was the first element of the burnt-offering, and death was by sin. There where man was (otherwise for him it could not be); where sin was; where Satan's power as death was; where God's irreversible judgment was, Christ had to glorify God, and it was a glory not otherwise to be displayed: love, righteousness, majesty, in the place of sin and death. Christ, who knew no sin, made sin for us, in perfect obedience and love to His Father goes down to death; and God is glorified there, Satan's power of death destroyed, God glorified in man according to all He is, sin being come in, in obedience and love. He was in the place of sin, and God glorified, as no creation, no sinlessness, could. All was a sweet savour in that place, and according to what God was as to it in righteousness and love.

The sweet savour of Christ's sinless sacrifice and its acceptance made ours

When Noah offered his burnt-offering, it is said, "And Jehovah smelled a sweet savour, and Jehovah said in his heart, I will no more curse the ground for man's sake, for the imaginations of man's heart are only evil continually." It had repented Him that He had made man, and grieved Him at His heart; but now, on this sweet savour, Jehovah says in His heart, "I will no more curse." Such is the perfect and infinite acceptableness of Christ's offering up of Himself to God. It is not in the sacrifice we are considering that He has the imposition of sins on Him (that was the sin-offering), but the perfectness, purity, and self-devotedness of the victim, but in being made sin, and that ascending in sweet savour to God. In this acceptability -- in the sweet savour of this sacrifice -- we are presented to God. All the delight which God finds in the odour of this sacrifice -- blessed thought! -- we are accepted in. Is God perfectly glorified in this, in all that He is? He is glorified then in receiving us. He receives us as the fruit and testimony of that in which He has been perfectly glorified, and that as revealed in redemption, in which all that He is is wrought out in revelation. Does He delight in what Christ is, in this His most perfect act? He so delights in us. Does this rise up before Him, a memorial for ever, in His presence, of delight? We, also, in the efficacy of it, are presented to Him; in one sense we are that memorial. It is not merely that the sins have been effaced by the expiatory act; but the perfect acceptability of Him who accomplished it and glorified God perfectly in it, the sweet savour of His sinless sacrifice, is our good odour of delight before God, and is ours; its acceptance, even Christ's, is ours.

Atonement made in obedience unto death

And we are to remark that, though distinct from laying our sins upon Him, yet death implied sin, and the sacrifice of Christ, as burnt-offering, had the character which resulted from sin being in question before God, namely, death. It made the trial and suffering so much the more terrible; His obedience was tested before God in the place of sin, and He was obedient unto death, not in the sense of bearing sins and putting them away, though in the same act, but in the perfection of His offering of Himself to God, and obedience tested by God; tested by being dealt with as sin, and therein, only, and a perfect sweet savour. Hence it was atonement; and, in one sense, of a deeper kind than the bearing of sins, that is, as the test of obedience and glorifying God in it. If we have found peace in forgiveness we cannot too much study the burnt-offering. It is that one act in the history of eternity in which the basis of all that in which God has glorified Himself morally, that is, revealed Himself as He is, and of all that in which our happiness is founded (and its sphere) -- for blessed be God they go together -- is laid; and laid in such a way that Christ could say, Therefore doth My Father love Me; and that in total, self-sacrifice made sin before God (oh, wondrous thought!) and for us. It became Him. Where is God's righteousness against sin known? where His holiness? where His infinite love? where His moral majesty? where what became Him? where His truth? where man's sin? where His perfectness? and, absolutely, where Satan's power, but its nullity too? All in the cross, and essentially in the burnt-offering. It is not as bearing sins, but as absolutely offered to God and in atonement -- blood shedding about sin.

The burnt-offering wholly for and to God

There is another point to remark in this sacrifice distinguishing it. It was wholly for and to God; for us no doubt, but still wholly to God. Of other sacrifices (not of the two first, for sin -- but of these hereafter) in some form or other men partook, of this not; it was wholly for God and on the altar. It was thus the grand absolute essential sacrifice; as to its effect, connected with us, as blood-shedding was (Heb. 9: 26 and John 1: 29, the Lamb of God) present in it (compare Eph. 5: 2). Hence, though having the stamp of sin being there in blood-shedding and propitiation, it was absolutely and wholly sweet savour, wholly to God.

[1] That is, it was not yet the priest's part. It may be translated, "one was to kill him." It was completing the offering, not presenting its blood in a priestly way.

[2] Much deep instruction is connected with this, but its development belongs to the New Testament. See Romans 12 and 6, and 1 Peter.

[3] Water thus used as a figure signifies the word in the present power of the Holy Ghost.

[4] Literally, "justified." You cannot accuse a dead man of sin. And note, it is not "sins" here, but "sin."

Synopsis by John Darby