LEVITICUS 1 & 2
Enter subtitle here
"Without shedding of blood is no remission of sins". (Heb 9:22)
Propitiation Lev 1-5
1 And Yahweh called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto Yahweh, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.
It must be a living creature put to death in the act of offering, with the blood poured out at the altar foot. The explanation was given afterwards: "It is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul"--"for the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls" (Lev. 17:11). The pouring out of the blood was the pouring out of the life, and therefore an acknowledgment on the part of the offerer that he was worthy to die. It was a typical declaration of that righteousness of God which was proclaimed in Christ in the one great offering as the basis of forgiveness (Rom. 3:25-26).
Law of Moses Ch 23
3 If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before Yahweh.
The sex feature is prominent in all the appointments of the law. The numbering of Israel applied to males only (Num. 1). So with the law of the firstborn (Exod. 13:12), "every male shall be the Lord's"; So with the three annual feasts: "three times a year shall all your males appear before the Lord" (Exod. 23:17; Deut. 16:16). The seal of the covenant was imprinted in the flesh of the males only (Gen. 17:10). On the other hand, the female, in cases of vow, was to be assessed at a smaller value than the male (Lev. 27:4-7), and in the case of the birth of a daughter, the mother was to be a longer time in purification (Lev. 12:7) A female animal could not be used for sacrifice except for peace offering (Lev. 3:1, 6) or for the sin of one of the common people (4:28, 32; 5:6).
As all these things have an allegorical significance, we naturally desire to penetrate the meaning. Where shall we find it? We are probably not far away from it when we read "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection . . . for Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression" (1 Tim. 2:11-14). "The man is the image and the glory of God, but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman, but the woman (taken out) of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man" (1 Cor. 11:7-9).
Here are historical facts and moral responsibilities at the beginning of human history that in-weave themselves with the whole work of God with the race. Of course, the modern school, with their "new woman" racing hither and thither and posing in attitudes and relations for which she is unfitted by nature, will rebel against these divine appointments, Mosaically recorded. They might as well fight against gravitation.
Woman was secondary in the purpose for which she was formed, and she was influential in deflecting man from the path of obedience which he probably would have observed if left to himself. If God has chosen to preserve the memorial of these facts in the constitution of things He has established among men, who can make demur?
Man has the first place all the way through, especially in the one great institution that brings man back to God in reconciliation. It was to be in a man and not in a woman that the righteousness of God was to be declared for the putting away of sin by forgiveness. It was to be by the obedience of one man that justification was to be provided for believing and obedient sinners, and not by the obedience of one man and woman, although it was by the disobedience of one man and woman that death entered the world --not that the law was laid down to Eve: it was to Adam the command was addressed: "Thou shalt not eat": but Eve considered herself included (Gen. 3:2), and was, in fact, included as one flesh with Adam (2:23).
So in the case of the last Adam--the remover of sin: his bride, the Lamb's wife, shares the victory achieved by him when it has been decided at the judgment-seat who constitute such.
In both cases, it is the male that is the subject of direct operation. Though there is neither male nor female in Christ Jesus, it is by a man and not by a woman that life has come, though she is instrumentally contributory: for as she was the beguiler of Adam, to the death and ruin of both of them, so she is made his rescuer, in being made use of in a virgin descendant of the House of David to bring the Saviour into the world.
Male and female are thus coordinate in the scheme without interfering with the headship appointed in the beginning. As Paul beautifully expresses it in his letter to the Corinthians:
"Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God" (11:11).
There is congruity in all the ways of God when the relations established by His law are observed. Man is the head, but only for nurture and protection and honour of the woman. Woman is man's equal fellow-heir of the salvation that is offered in Christ, but not to usurp the position that belongs to man both by natural constitution and divine appointment.
Law of Moses Ch 23
8 And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
9 But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto Yahweh.
Destruction of sin's flesh
1. THE BURNT OFFERING.--
The burnt offering was burnt wholly on the altar. It was left to smoulder all night into ashes, and the ashes were removed in the morning. It was called the burnt offering "because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning" (6:9). It was an act of worship on the part of a mortal being, apart from guilt of specific offence. Thus Noah, saved from destruction by the flood, "took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar" (Gen. 8:20). Thus also the test of Abraham's faith was to offer Isaac "for burnt offering" (Gen. 22:2).
That burnt offering should be required in the absence of particular offence shows that our unclean state as the death-doomed children of Adam itself unfits us for approach to the Deity apart from the recognition and acknowledgment of which the burnt offering was the form required and supplied. It was "because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel", as well as "because of their transgressions in all their sins", that atonement was required for even the tabernacle of the congregation (Lev. 16:16).
The type involved in complete burning is self-manifest: it is consumption of sin-nature. This is the great promise and prophecy and requirement of every form of the truth; the destruction of the body of sin (Rom. 6:6). It was destroyed in Christ's crucifixion --the "one great offering"' we ceremonially share it in our baptism' "crucified with Christ", "baptized unto his death". We morally participate in it in putting the old man to death in "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts"; and the hope before us is the prospect of becoming subject to such a physical change as will consume mortal nature and change it into the glorious nature of the Spirit. "We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye!"
The whole process of consumption is the work of the Spirit, whether we consider the sending forth of Christ to condemn sin in the flesh, or our association with his death in baptism or our repudiation of the old man as the rule of life, or our change at the judgment seat into the incorruptible and glorious nature of the Son of God. When the work is finished, flesh and blood, with all its weakness and its woe, will have ceased from the earth, and given place to a glad and holy race of men immortal and "equal to the angels".
It was a beautiful requirement of the wisdom of God in the beginning of things that He should require an act of worship that typified the repudiation of sinful nature as the basis of divine fellowship and acceptability. Those who deny Christ's participation thereof, deny its removal by sacrifice, and therefore deny the fundamental testimony of the gospel, that he is "the Lamb of God, taking away the sin of the world". They think they honour him by saying his flesh-nature was a clean nature. In reality, they deny his qualification for the work he was sent to do. They mistake holiness of character for holiness of nature, and by a wrong use of truth, destroy.
The removal of the ashes in the morning out of the camp, has an evident allusion to the change effected in the dawn of the perfect day, when the unconsumed remnants of sin's flesh--that is, the men who are not changed by the Spirit, or consumed by the altar fire--will be "put away like dross". The body of the burnt offering as the type of Christ might not seem to leave room for the idea of "ashes" if we think only of Christ personal but when we extend our view to the whole race as federally involved in him, we can see how the treatment of the body of the burnt offering would typify the purpose of God with regard to the race, and therefore leave a place for the ashes to be removed in the morning.
Law of Moses Ch 25
Oil of Joy
1 And when any will offer a meat offering unto Yahweh, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:
THE MEAL OFFERING, always of wheat, was a thankful recognition of the care of God in the daily bread, and a presenting to God of the fruit of daily toil...The OIL of knowledge and enlightenment in the Spirit:
"Ye are the light of the world."
Bro Growcott - Living Sacrifice
6 Thou shalt part it in pieces, and pour oil thereon: it is a meat offering.
Every meat offering had to be almost drowned in oil; which, as we have seen, is the type of joy.
"Serve the Lord with gladness." "The Lord loveth a cheerful giver." A gift given to God with regret, or with only half a heart, lacks an important condition of acceptability. Joy belongs to God. "Strength and gladness are in his presence." The constant summons to His people is to "Rejoice", "Be glad in the Lord, ye righteous, and shout for joy, all ye upright in heart."
His purpose is to impart everlasting joy to His redeemed. If He puts them to grief now, it is only that they may be prepared.
"He doth not willingly afflict nor grieve the children of men."
He does not intend sorrow to "sullen o'er the sombre sky" for ever, even now. He has no pleasure in penances and asceticisms.
"Is it such a fast that I have chosen?" saith He, "a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free?" (Isa. 58:5).
It is only where the wickedness of neglecting Him prevails--when "there is no truth nor mercy nor knowledge of God in the land"--that the Lord God calls for" fasting, with weeping and mourning", telling the sinners to "be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness".
To those who serve Him in love, He is a sun and shield--a fortress and a high tower--the rock of their salvation--in whom they are called upon to rejoice. Their meat-offerings were liable to be sad if not soaked in oil. Good things He "hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them who believe and know the truth" (1 Tim. 4:3). "He giveth them all things richly to enjoy" (1 Tim. 6:17). Therefore, they have nothing in common with the gloomy religion of the cloister and the cell. They are God's free and glad men who rejoice in His bounty and render back to Him, through Christ, freewill offerings soaked in oil.
7 And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in the fryingpan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil.
IT was one of many pleasing features of the system of divine service established by the law of Moses that a man could give to God a portion of what he (the man) required for his own peculiar use: that is, if he felt moved to do so by a sense of gratitude or desire to do special honour to God. Some things were compulsory, but this was not: it was left to the spontaneous action of love, while yet enjoined as a thing expedient: "Honour the Lord with thy substance, and the firstfruits of all thine increase", Room was made for meat offerings: that is, food-, offerings--offerings of "fine flour", or "cakes of fine flour" whether "baken in the oven" or pan, or fried in a frying-pan
There is something very beautiful in this idea of a man making God a partaker of the man's own plenty. How agreeable to social feeling for friend to send to friend a portion from one's own table: what closer act of communion could there be? How pleasing that a man should be able to do this with God. He might truly feel as David expressed himself in a larger matter, "Of thine own have we given unto thee".
Still, in a sense, God parts with His property in a thing when He gives it to a man: and, therefore, He puts it into the man's power to indulge the pure pleasure of making a gift to God. Such a gift offered in an enlightened spirit would be a source of the highest pleasure it is possible for a created being to enjoy.
It is like having God a guest at your own table. But how could such a thing be? It would seem in the nature of things impossible. Men could not have imagined how it could be done unless God had revealed the way. He did so in the Mosaic type of meat offerings, in the ordinances of which we learn some excellent lessons for our own case. *
8 And thou shalt bring the meat offering that is made of these things unto Yahweh: and when it is presented unto the priest, he shall bring it unto the altar.
Every meat offering was to be brought to the altar by the priest.
Not otherwise could the Israelite offer an acceptable gift to God. Not otherwise could he take God into his domestic fellowship by food-offering. This was easy to understand in the literal and typical. It would be easy to understand in the antitypical if it were not for the obscuring fogs of human thought and sentiment. Christ is both priest and altar: man has no standing, apart from him. A man cannot offer acceptable gifts to God except through and in him. Christ is THE WAY, as he proclaimed, "There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved". There is no other way of approach to God.
A man is not fit to approach on his own merit. He is an unjustified sinner till clothed with the name of Christ in the belief and obedience of the truth. He is not acceptable till then. He is like a person under displeasure at court. He is not fit to offer gifts. Let men give themselves first in acceptable reconciliation, and then their gifts will be acceptable on the altar. They are not acceptable away from the altar: and they cannot be offered on the altar (Christ) unless the priest (Christ) put them there; and this he will only do for those who become members of his household by incorporation with his name. *
Honey and Leaven excluded
10 And that which is left of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of Yahweh made by fire.
When all the conditions were perfect, the meat offering was to be handed to the priest. What became of it then? Part of it was to be burnt on the altar for a memorial of the offerer, and what was left was to be appropriated by the priest. But the whole of it was reckoned "most holy", and accepted for the offerer.
The priest and the altar represented the two departments of the divine service: the visible and the invisible: the human and the divine - for when a thing was burnt on the altar, it had no further use or existence: while what remained for the priest was not only visible, but contributive to the service in its human element.
To both departments, all acts of divine service are related. There are words and gifts and services given to man for God's sake. Both are holy and acceptable and necessary. The men who in the sublimity of a divine abstractedness think it meritorious to forget or despise man, have forgotten that God has conjoined the two in acceptable worship. Love the Lord thy God, but forget not that He requires of thee to love and serve thy neighbour also. *
11 No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto Yahweh, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of Yahweh made by fire.
Why leaven--the principle of fermentation--should be employed to represent evil, we are not informed. That it is so employed is beyond question, as Paul's expression shows: "The leaven of malice and wickedness" (1 Cor. 5:8). It is probably because it is a self-propagating thing, and tends by the process of gaseous cellularization to change and deteriorate the constitution of the substance it acts upon. A thing that is leavened is inflated and on the road to corruption.
Leaven, therefore, offers a considerable analogy to the operations of "malice and wickedness", which are of spontaneous generation, so far as the workings of the brain are concerned: and which, if once allowed a lodgment, spread and spread till the whole mind or a whole community is clouded by their influence.
At all events, here is the express intimation by type, that an act of liberality to God is of no acceptability in His eyes if it is at all inspired by a wicked mind. It might seem as if such an inspiration could not attach to such an act. Both experience and Scripture indication are decisive in the opposite direction. I have known--any of us may have known--acts of ostensibly religious service performed in the spirit of acrimony and jealousy and strife. As "men abhorred the offering of the Lord" under the iniquitous administration of Eli's sons, so the ordinances of apostolic assembly have been made to stink in the hands of carnal emulation.
The Scriptures speak of "the sacrifice of the wicked being (in any case) an abomination to the Lord: how much more when he bringeth it with a wicked mind!" The presence of leaven in the meat offering deals, therefore, with a case by no means hypothetical. Its prohibition is the typical enforcement of the numerously otherwise asserted principle that God accepts gifts and approaches, only when tendered in the meek spirit of a righteous obedience. Even their being offered on the altar, with a plentiful soaking of oil, did not secure acceptance if leaven was in the flour of the offering; of which we see the parallel in the thought that even being in Christ with gladness is not enough for acceptability with God if malice find lodgment in the heart. *
What can this mean? Honey is sweet to human taste, and stands even in the ordinary intercourse of men for all that is of self-gratifying character. That it should be banished from the altar along with leaven stands in striking contrast to the appointment of bitter herbs as an ingredient in the passover sacrifice. It is probably the obverse of the same idea. Self-denial is an indispensable part of divine submission, so self-gratification is a prohibited element. But this has to be applied with qualifications. It is the extreme application of the principle that has led to the sterile asceticisms of ecclesiastical practice.
There are enjoyments permitted. How could it be otherwise? You cannot breathe or walk in the sunshine, or eat or drink or sleep without enjoyment if you are in health. "The tender mercy of the Lord is over all his works." He designs nothing but pure joy at last.
But there are enjoyments forbidden: there are mortifications enjoined. Here is where the exclusion of the honey comes in. The law of the Lord is the regulator on all points. For want of this discrimination, many an honest soul is in a state of slavish fear and restraint which is wholly without cause. I have known such in fear to enjoy their meals, in forgetfulness of the fact that the bounties of the table are" created", as Paul says, "to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth".
Pleasure-seeking, in the gratification of "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life", appears to be the antitypical honey which is out of place on the altar of the Lord. These may be summarized in the phrase "self-complacency"--which is odious even in human intercourse, and, therefore, much more out of place in the service of God.
It is this phase of self-contemplation and self-enjoyment that appears to be identified with the figurative use of honey in the Proverbs: "It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory" (25:27). This would suggest that the thing condemned in the typical prohibition of honey from the meat offering was self-glory. It is certain that for a man to come in this spirit to God will ensure repulse. The one thing required by His glorious majesty and called for in true reason, is the mental attitude more than once defined by Him in the words: "Poor and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at my word" *
Single Firstfruit sheaf
12 As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto Yahweh: but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savour.
If a man chose, in the abundance of his gratitude, to bring an oblation of the first-cut corn, at the time that the single sheaf of firstfruits was to be waved in the sanctuary at the feast of the firstfruits, his oblation was to be accepted, but, like the sheaf, was not to be burnt - only waved. Was this because the earliest firstfruits represented Christ, as we have seen, who was to be an exception to all "the redeemed of the Lord" in that he was not at all to see corruption, but, with the exception of the brief rest in Joseph's tomb till the morning of the third day, was to be ever before the Lord in active service, from the moment of his introduction into the world? This is a probable meaning. *
13 And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy elohim to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.
The SALT of purity and uncorruptness.
In this we may see the force of the expression, "the salt of the covenant of thy God". In the type, the literal salt was so designated: but why? It is one of the shadows. The substance is to be found in the state of mind, which is one of the conditions which God exacts as a ground of covenant with man. The salt-ness of a moral zest, a quick, enlightened earnestness, is a very condition of the covenant.
The whole ground is covered by the precept: "My son, give me thine heart", expanded in the words, "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart", and again in the exhortation, "Be not as the horse or as the mule, which have no understanding": "Seek wisdom, seek understanding ": "When wisdom is pleasant to thy soul, then shalt thou find favour"
The principle in its latter application finds expression in the strong words of Christ on the subject of loving him to the extent of hating our own lives. It is a reasonable requirement of the divine service that men be hearty in it as the result of a love that springs from discernment. Its perfected form in the day of the true "immortals" will show us a community animated to its finger-tips with the glow of this moral and intellectual beauty. *
Ye are the salt of the earth
Savourless salt is certainly a very useless kind of article to put on the table, and salt without savour is not a thing unknown, literally or metaphorically.
We may know the truth and profess the truth, and not taste of it. This is a sore evil for all parties concerned. If our salt is without taste to the eater, the eater is not likely to give us a place at his table. We see this illustrated even now. We have to eat each other in a sense, for we cannot mingle together and talk with each other, and have transactions with each other, without in some degree partaking of each other.
The real taste of the individual is felt in these familiar relations of life. What a nauseating disappointment it is to find utter tastelessness in the man who comes to you labelled as the finest salt! There are some in whom you feel no taste of the salt as you eat them. Some just barely taste of it. Others are nicely seasoned. It is a treat to get hold of them.
...There is no secret about the salting process. Those who are salt are so for one reason only, and that which makes them salt will make others salt also. They are salt because they steep in the salt. The continual reading of the word saturates their minds with the spirit of the word, and changes the insipid, purposeless old man of the flesh into a new man, full of interest and noble qualities.
Jesus says his people are the salt. They are constituted so by the truth, which is the great salting influence, but, says he, if the salt becomes savourless, it will not be accepted. It will not be used on the King's table, but will be cast out as unworthy of any higher purpose than being strewn on the highway, to prepare a way whereon others may walk. Let us give earnest heed then, to the salting process,
"as new born babes desiring the sincere milk of the word, that we may grow thereby."
Bro Roberts - Salt, Seasons 1 :36
Green ears of corn
14 And if thou offer a meat offering of thy firstfruits unto , thou shalt offer for the meat offering of thy firstfruits green ears of corn dried by the fire, even corn beaten out of full ears.
A man might offer a meat offering made from the first-cut corn; this might be burnt like the other meat offerings. But it was to consist of "green ears of corn dried by the fire, beaten out of the full ear", which was a product of the firstfruits and not the firstfruits in sheaf form.
If the waved sheaf of firstfruits represented Christ, we cannot but recognize in these green ears beaten out of the sheaf state and ripened by fire that they might be suitable for offering, the apostolic community coming after him and out of him, ripened in the fire of persecution, for offering as "the sacrifice and service of faith"--as Paul expresses it. There must have been a reason for the distinction between the two; and this is a strong and natural distinction. *
15 And thou shalt put oil upon it, and lay frankincense thereon: it is a meat offering.
Every meat offering was to be garnished with frankincense.
This has passed into universal recognition as the type of praise and commendation. Every gift must be offered with praise. Men like praise, and so does God; but there is this difference: men have no claim to praise because they have received from God whatever they have: whereas God is entitled to praise because all excellence expressed or manifest in any way in heaven or earth is but the reflection or incorporation of that which is innate with Him.
God has given us the capacity to enjoy praise in subordinate relations; He never intended it to exclude praise that belongs only to Him. Where it does so, men are an offence to Him.
"Of him, and through him, and to him, are all things."
It is, therefore, no mawkish cringe, but the attitude of true reason to say, "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory."
It is no mere pietism that Paul utters, but the inculcation of robust good sense when he says, "Let no man glory in men: but he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord", The words are words of pure and undiluted reason that say, "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me" (Jer. 9:23).
The day of pure goodness upon earth will never be till the earth is filled with His glory (His praise) as the waters cover the sea--a covering so complete as only to correspond with the mystic scene which John witnessed in Patmos:
"And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever". *
* Law of Moses Ch 24