Leviticus.

Division 3. (Lev. 16 — 17.)

The purification of the heavenly sanctuary and the earthly people. Christ's appearing in the sanctuary and from the sanctuary.

We now come to the central division of the book, and, in other ways than this, the heart of it. If Leviticus be the book of the sanctuary — that sanctuary in which was enshrined the glory of God, it was on the day of atonement that this sanctuary was justified in its abode among them, and their crowning blessing secured. It was also the day in which alone the sanctuary in its innermost recesses was opened, and man in some sense drew nigh to God.

 True, it was still but the shadow, and not the very image. The high-priest alone, not Israel, not even the whole priestly family, drew nigh; and he but for a brief moment, covered with a cloud of incense, and in the power of the atoning blood which he presented to God. The vail which was before God was thus only temporarily lifted, — that vail which through all the dispensations of law declared that "the way into the holiest was not yet made manifest" (Heb. 9:8), as grace, founded on a better sacrifice, alone could manifest it. But for us that grace is revealed, and we are brought to God: we have the substance of the shadows; and for us, therefore, they can speak with a fuller meaning than they could have before. The epistle to the Hebrews is largely the exposition and application to us of this day of atonement; and we have thus an inspired commentary on it of inestimable value, and which gives corresponding value to the type before us.

Israel's great day is for us also great; and we must seek with all possible care, and in dependence upon the teaching of the Spirit of God, to get understanding of it.

And for this it will be well to anticipate somewhat the teaching of the twenty-third chapter, and to see its dispensational place as there revealed. In this way many things of importance become clear to us, and the details alone capable of being grasped. The dispensational place is most intimately connected with its spiritual meaning.

 In the twenty-third chapter, the year of the Lord's holy seasons (they are not all "feasts") gives us the cycle of blessing for the Church and Israel — the heavenly and the earthly saints. It divides, therefore, into two parts: the passover, first-fruits, and the "feast of weeks" begin the year; then, after a pause, another cluster is found in the seventh month, — on the first day, the blowing of trumpets; on the tenth, the day of atonement; and on the fifteenth begins the feast of tabernacles. The first group we have no difficulty in recognizing as specially our own: the feast of redemption, the sheaf of resurrection, and Pentecost. The second group begins with the blowing of trumpets, which, as the gathering of the congregation, speaks of the reassembling of Israel; then the day of atonement shows them in repentance taking refuge under the work of Christ; and lastly the feast of tabernacles brings in for them millennial blessing.

It is evident, therefore, that the day of atonement is here connected in a special way with the repentance of Israel in the last days, — the seventh month, or time of complete accomplishment of His purposes toward them; and this explains (whatever else may be found in it,) the meaning of the scape-goat, and that while the first goat is killed and its blood brought into the holiest for them when Aaron goes in there, their sins are not confessed and sent away from them until he has come out again. Just so will it be with the nation of Israel. Whatever preparatory work has gone before, (and such there will assuredly be,) yet as to the nation we are told, "They shall look on Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born. . . . And the land shall mourn, every family apart. . . . In that day shall there be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness." (Zech. 12:10, 12; Zech. 13:1.)

It might be thought, however, that this still left open the question of time, and that the looking upon Him whom they had pierced was only poetic imagery for conviction under the gospel. But this difficulty is quite removed by the New Testament prophet, quoting and applying the older prophecy: "Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth" — the exact words, really, for "all the tribes of the land," however capable of a wider significance, — "shall wail because of Him." (Rev. 1:7.) Here it is plain that it is in the day of Christ's visible glory that Zechariah's prophecy will be fulfilled, and with it the scapegoat also shall find its antitype.

So much is clear, then, as to the application to Israel. Having obtained it, however, we find no less clearly that the day of atonement begins long before this, and contemplates the Lord's entrance into heaven as well as His return from it, this stretching over all the present time; and its fullness of meaning for us the epistle to the Hebrews brings out and develops. Brought thus far, indeed, it is not difficult to discover that in the priestly house of the sons of Aaron we have here (what we have seen in them elsewhere,) our own type, and that the day of atonement gives us, thus, a most comprehensive picture of the fruits of atonement both for the Church and Israel. We have to insert into it from the New Testament the rending of the vail, and then we are prepared to look at the details of what must have the profoundest interest and instruction for us.

In the division of this part of the book, commentators in general unite the seventeenth chapter with those which follow, rather than with the sixteenth. It is, in fact, however, as an appendix to this that it finds its real place and significance. The statement of what makes atonement before God is its central feature, and its connection with the day of atonement should be easily seen. It is, in fact, fundamental to the whole subject; and as we have already had to appeal to its teaching, so we shall find a necessity for such appeal once more, in order that there may be full assurance as to the interpretation of what is immediately before us. It is strictly a supplementary note, but of the greatest possible moment.

1. As a first section here, it is easy to characterize the sixteenth chapter: it is surely of the concord of divine righteousness with peace toward men that the day of atonement speaks, — the theme of the epistle to the Romans, especially in its first part, where, in Rom. 3:25, the blood-sprinkled mercy-seat is brought before us: the word for "propitiation" there, which is rather "propitiatory," is the word used in the Septuagint and in Heb. 9:5 for "the mercy-seat." The themes of Romans and of Hebrews are combined in this most expressive type.

(1) And here, first, we learn with what the priest must come into the holy place: it is, as we know, Aaron the high-priest, and no other of the priestly family can come in at all. This does not deprive us of access; it was a figure for the time then present; but for us the vail is rent: we have "boldness to enter into the holiest through the blood of Jesus." (Heb. 10:19.)

All through the day of atonement, except only in leading away the goat, and in carrying the sin-offering without the camp, it is Aaron who does all. As high-priest, he is the representative of the people, as he is the representative-head of the priestly house. Even the slaying of the victims is accordingly his work. This makes it easier to apprehend the application of this to Christ, that Aaron must enter into the sanctuary only with the blood of sacrifice. Thus the apostle, translating the type, says of Him, that "neither by the blood of goats and bullocks" — not necessarily "calves," — "but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption." (Heb. 9:12.) The word here is dia — "by means of," and its force in connection with the Jewish high-priest is not a question. He could not have entered apart from the blood of sacrifice. Of course this could apply to the Lord only in the official character in which Hebrews presents Him: no one dreams that personally He could not enter at any time, but as High-Priest, the representative of others, and of such as we are, it was otherwise: "the Son of Man must be lifted up," He Himself says. (John 3:14.) Thus, "having obtained eternal redemption," He entered in once into the holy place.

While this is surely true, what our eyes are at present fixed on is Himself. The white linen with which the high-priest is to be clothed shows the perfect righteousness which as man is His personal qualification to draw nigh. The robes of glory and beauty are not upon him. It is not a question of what He is officially, or even as the Divine Son. The first and all-important question is of His own ability to stand the test of the absolute requirements of divine holiness. Upon this amid the agonies of the cross everything hung: "He was heard for His piety." (Heb. 5:7, marg.) Bearing the awful weight of sins not His own. He vindicated by entire submission the character of God in imposing a penalty which was but the necessary requirement of His own nature; and God thus glorified, that nature demanded the deliverance out of death of the blessed Sufferer: "by the glory of the father" He was raised up from the dead. (Rom. 6:4.) Thus the white linen garments are in necessary connection with the blood with which the high-priest enters the holiest.

Lastly, for the people also as well as for the priesthood He has an offering. These different offerings we are called to consider in that which follows.

(2) In the second subsection we have the presentation to Jehovah of the offerings: they are not actually yet sacrificed, but only presented to God. Scripture always distinguishes between this offering and the final offering up. It is the putting them into relation to Him and to their appointed work; and so Christ "through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God." (Heb. 9:14.) We also read that "He offered up Himself." (Heb. 7:27.) To offer to God was not in itself priestly work: here the high-priest does it because he is the people's representative, just as afterwards he kills the victim. The priest's work, as we have seen, begins after this, with the sprinkling of the blood, and the offering up upon the altar.

In the application of this we need the most careful discrimination. It has been contended by some, that thus the priest's work begins "the other side of death," and that Christ's priestly work did not commence therefore until after death. But the offering up was priestly, and Christ "offered up Himself:" this could not be after the cross. If it be contended that here the shadow of the law was as "not the very image," we might as well (and better) argue that this applies to the slaying of the victim rather. But this cannot be justified either, and, if the principle were admitted, all certainty as to the interpretation of the types would disappear. There can be conceived no reason why, if the spiritual meaning require it, the offerer should not as well "offer up" as slay the victim: yet there was nothing in the law more stringent than the prohibition of any such intrusion into the priestly office.

The failure of the shadows of the law to give the perfect image of the reality is of two kinds, and it would seem two only. One example of this failure is familiar to us in the rent vail. It was not something of which no account could be given, but had a definite lesson of its own, and a needful one. Its meaning was that the way into the holiest was not yet made manifest: the law could show no way. Thus this class of examples, as the apostle says, were figures for the time then present (Heb. 9:9). — needful assurances of the weakness and inefficacy of law in its very nature. Of the other class of examples we can find one which bears very directly upon the matter before us. The death of the animal preceded its burning upon the ground or on the altar: in the antitype it was the reverse, the judgment upon sin Christ endured before death, and not after it; and the inversion of the order here has helped to occasion the very misconception of the priestly work coming only after death. Yet it is surely clear that this inversion is simply a necessity of a sort easily to be recognized, although the Spirit of God has none the less turned it to account. Thus from some natural necessity or from the character of the law itself this want of correspondence between type and antitype seems to arise. To imagine it where there is no such need is on the other hand to introduce unmeaning and causeless confusion into the inspired Word: no example of such a kind can be produced, it is confidently believed, from the whole range of Scripture.

"Christ by the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God;" and we find this apparently as what was implied in His coming to John's baptism. It was the end of that private life of His for thirty years, in which in the fulfillment of His personal responsibility as man He was being manifested as the Lamb without spot. John's baptism of repentance had therefore no claim upon Him personally, and to have come to it on His own account would have been a denial of His own spotlessness. "I have need to be baptized of Thee," says the Baptist, from that point of view rightly, — "and comest Thou to me?" All thought of the Lord's doing this by way of example for us is therefore a grave as it is a gross mistake. Was He a penitent? or one taking refuge by faith in a Saviour to come? No, He could be neither; and therefore could not mean by His action to put Himself in such a place. What, then, could it mean?

His answer to John is, "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness." In His coming to it as a baptism of repentance He could not in righteousness own it for Himself; for others it obviously was the first step in righteousness that could be taken by sinners, — and for them how deeply significant! a baptism in Jordan, the river of death, a "baptism to death" therefore (Rom. 6:4), to which the sins they confessed were their just title. Death was the righteous penalty of sin, which by grace they were thus permitted to anticipate, owning their guilt in view of "remission of sins" (Luke 3:3) through Him whom John preceded. Now He was come, and owning for them the righteousness of this confession of their guilt and of the penalty under which they were, His own fulfillment of righteousness is in going into death for them as their Saviour and their sacrifice. He is moving therefore from His former position as One fulfilling righteousness for Himself; He is taking position as One fulfilling it for others. And this implies for Him death, which He speaks of afterward, as the baptism He was to be baptized with, "straitened" by His love, and in the manifestation of it, till it was accomplished (Luke 12:50).

It is in this way, then, He takes His place under John's baptism. It is His offering Himself without spot to God, and as this He is immediately proclaimed by the Father's voice, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And now the Spirit of God openly descends upon Him. He is anointed without blood, as we saw in Aaron's case (Ex. 29:7; Lev. 8:12), and thus He becomes the "anointed priest," to offer up the offering He had just presented.

All, therefore, is harmony, as in the Word of God it always is, — the offering first, and then the priestly offering up. From His baptism by John, the Lord goes forth as the Lamb reserved for sacrifice, and as the High-Priest whose offering up is of Himself. All glories unite in Him, and the pathway of suffering is indeed His glory.

And now returning to Leviticus, we find, along with the presence of the offerings, the diversity of the offerings insisted on, in their purpose and in their character alike. Of course they all have their fulfillment in His one all-comprehensive offering: but this is displayed for us here, in the different ends it is designed to answer, and in its diverse character as suited to those ends. And thus we must look at it.

First, we have the difference between the offerings for the people, and for the priestly house: for the former, two goats; for the latter, one bullock. We have seen the distinctive character of these — the goat and the bullock, and have only to see their appropriateness as offerings respectively for Israel and the Church. The goat is the sin-offering elsewhere prescribed for the prince and common person in Israel, as the bullock is for the high-priest, and the congregation at large; here for the congregation at large it is but the goat. Yet we must distinguish: for the congregation in Lev. 4 includes the priesthood, while here the priesthood are represented separately; thus we see the ground upon which the congregation here represents the people of Israel simply, while there it stands for the redeemed as a whole.

The bullock thus as the offering for the Church gives us, as we have already seen, the Lord as the blessed Servant of the Father's will: the goat speaks of simple substitution. Thus the bullock brings in directly the thought of the glorifying God as the goat does not. In the latter sin is seen as removed, and completely; but in the former case the incense-altar can be anointed in the sanctuary, — that is, in heaven (Lev. 4:7, 18). On the day of atonement indeed the blood of both goat and bullock is brought into the sanctuary, and put upon the mercy-seat before God, but the people are not brought in by it, and the scape-goat shows us the effect for Israel. But of this we must speak in its place.

For the people there are two goats, and here again is diversity; for they are separated to different work. This is given in some detail, and there are conflicting views as to the interpretation, which call for some examination.

Lots are cast as to the two goats, as to their destination: the one is said to be "for Jehovah;" the other "for the scape-goat." In the last place, the Revised Version, with many critical authorities now, substitutes "for Azazel," with an alternative in the margin, "or dismissal," which would bring it back nearly to the old translation. Azazel is mere adoption of the Hebrew word, as to the meaning and application of which there have been so many different thoughts, that some are content to leave it as an insoluble enigma. And yet it is certain that the first two letters of the word are those for "goat," and that it is a goat on which the lot falls; while the rest of the word is one which signifies to go away," "depart," and this is exactly what the goat does: why then should there be any difficulty as to the meaning?

Keil contends, however, that "the words, one lot for Jehovah and one for Azazel, require unconditionally that Azazel should be regarded as a personal being in opposition to Jehovah;" but this is his affirmation only: no one that had no theory to support would see any such necessity. But a long line of commentators, Jewish and Christian both, declare Azazel to be a name for Satan, and with this Keil agrees, and that the goat is to be sent away to Satan, for what purpose they cannot decide, for the simple reason that Scripture says nothing about it. The two goats are one sin-offering (v. 5) and of course a double representation of Christ, and the great point is, that the sins for which the first goat dies are taken away from the people on the head of the second "into a land cut off" — where therefore they cannot be found. All is as simple as can be, and needs no such weird invention to introduce confusion into it.

The fact that the two goats are one sin-offering meets another difficulty which has been found in the words as to the second goat, "to make atonement for him, to let him go as a scape-goat into the wilderness." The common version escapes it by rendering "to make atonement with him," but this cannot be maintained. Others would translate, "to make atonement over him," but this is neither the force of the word, nor has it any plain significance that one can discern. The words mean regularly "to make atonement for him," and the meaning is simple when we consider that, the two being one sin-offering, the atonement is made entirely by the first goat, which therefore makes it for the other: this solution of the matter, simple as it is, seems to have escaped the commentators. Its importance is, that what is done with it is defined not to be "atonement," and inconsistent with the thought of its really making it; for atonement is made for it, to let it go. It shows also that the being let go is a real freedom, the result of atonement made, and that the "land cut off" is not death or its equivalent, as I once thought. It is as the consequence of atonement that the sins are borne away, and their being on the head of the goat does not mean penalty for it, but freedom for the people — a freedom which involves their sins being no more found.

Thus too the meaning of "Jehovah's lot" becomes plain. The first goat is that, because it is the real sacrifice, while the other is "let go." It is not a question of two parts or aspects of atonement; for the first alone really makes the atonement, while the other expresses the result for the people.

(3) And now we are to see the actual entrance into the holiest. First, for himself and his house. Aaron slays the bullock of the sin-offering, and then fills the sanctuary with a cloud of incense, that it may cover the mercy-seat; afterward sprinkling the blood of the bullock upon the front of it, and seven times before it, making atonement for the priestly house. He then kills the goat which is for the people, and does with its blood as with the blood of the bullock, making "atonement for the sanctuary because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins," "for the tent of meeting which abideth among them in the midst of their uncleanness."

The first point of inquiry here must be as to the meaning of what is the central feature of all, the sprinkling of the blood upon the "propitiatory" or "mercy-seat." That it was for "atonement" is explicitly said, as in the next chapter the blood is stated to be given upon the altar for atonement. Here the mercy-seat takes the place of the altar, although afterward the blood is carried out to the altar, as we shall see; but the mercy-seat is first here and central, being indeed the "propitiatory" (as in Heb. 9:5 it is literally) or the "place of propitiation or atonement."

The "propitiatory" was the cover of the ark, as we know, and with it represented Christ, in its two materials of wood and gold, just as the altar of burnt-offering represented Christ in its two materials of wood and brass. If the mercy-seat were the "place of propitiation," the altar (mizbeach) was literally "the place of sacrifice." The altar, as the Lord Himself tells us, is that which "sanctifieth the gift." (Matt. 23:19.) The person of Christ is that which makes His work so precious and acceptable to God.

We have seen already that when Christ offered Himself to God for the baptism to death to which He was to be baptized, that then He was proclaimed of God the Son in whom He was well pleased, and anointed with the Spirit for His priestly work. Similarly the apostle connects God's acknowledgment of His Son with His call to the High-Priesthood (Heb. 5:5). Afterward we are shown Him in the suffering which was His wondrous obedience, offering up Himself (Heb. 5:7, 8; 7:27), perfected as the Saviour, and for His work in the heavenly sanctuary. He rose from the dead, and having "by Himself purged our sins," ascended into heaven, and "sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Heb. 1:3). He was "raised again for our justification" (Rom. 4:25), His deliverance from death being the public acceptance of His work on our behalf, and the clearance from charge of all those who by faith are His. The living bird, dipped in the blood of atonement, first sprinkles the leper, and then takes its flight into the open field.

It is of this entrance into heaven after resurrection that the epistle to the Hebrews speaks, — an entrance by ascension, which the Lord in His words to Mary on the day of His resurrection denies having yet taken place: "Touch Me not," He says, "for I am not yet ascended to My Father." With His ascension is connected His session at the right hand of God: "He was received up into heaven," says Mark, "and sat on the right hand of God." This was necessarily a thing done once, not needing to be repeated, and so is spoken of always in Hebrews: "We have such a High-Priest who is set down on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens;" "by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place;" "but this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins, sat down forever" — or has taken His seat in perpetuity" — "at the right hand of God." This is the true force of the last verse, though in the R.V. only given in the margin.

From all this it is plain that the entrance contemplated in Hebrews is after resurrection and by ascension only, and therefore in the value of a work already accepted of God. But this being so, it ought to be as plain that the entrance of the high-priest into the sanctuary in Leviticus is a type of the same, and that the blood he carries does not wait for acceptance when it is put upon the mercy-seat, but is put there as already accepted, to make atonement for the sanctuary: the work already looked at as complete is applied to this particular purpose. Thus the same blood, in the language of the Old Testament, can make atonement again and again, — that is, for every fresh object to which it is applied.

The purpose here is plain: "he shall make atonement for the sanctuary, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins, and so shall he do for the tent of meeting which abideth among them in the midst of their uncleannesses." Thus in this picture we have exhibited what the epistle to the Hebrews calls the "purification of the heavenly things" (Heb. 9:23). It is seen that the blood of atonement is that which vindicates the abiding of the tabernacle — thus of the divine presence — in the midst of a sinful people. And so directly after is the altar also purified, that it may remain among them to sanctify their gifts.

For us there is a higher blessing. Christ has entered into heaven, not for a moment, but to take His place in the presence of God for us, "a High-Priest over the house of God." The vail rent in answer to His work accomplished, we have access ourselves to God in the holiest, and are invited to "draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith" (Heb. 10:22). The holy and the holiest are now one, and there is no "first tabernacle" (Heb. 9:8).

But this connects with another thing, which Hebrews does not enlarge upon, though it lays the foundation, and other epistles of Paul are full of it. The high-priest is the head and representative of the priestly family before God, and we are "seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." This in the Old Testament is necessarily as yet a mystery hid in God; and here we can only indicate a connection. There is none with Aaron in the sanctuary in Leviticus, and he does not remain there. In making atonement he is of course alone.

(4) The numerical structure marks, as it would seem decisively, the scapegoat as giving the result for Israel, the earthly people. This we have seen emphasized in other ways: prophecy is abundantly clear that while provision has been made for Israel long since in the work of the cross, it is only when the Lord appears that their sins as a nation will be put away. In this way the meaning of the two goats is perfectly simple, the first only being the Lord's lot and the real atonement, the last being, however, in a sense and for a purpose quite evident, identified with it. Like the second bird, it typifies, therefore, the results of the work rather than the work itself,* the putting away of Israel's sin at the time of the Lord's appearing from heaven, but in virtue of a work accomplished when He went in. The two goats figure in this way but one sin-offering, which is seen in its Godward side in that which is Jehovah's lot, and in its effect for the nation in the scapegoat.

{*Questions have, however, been raised as to the connection of these goats respectively with propitiation and substitution, so important in their bearing upon the nature of atonement itself, that it is impossible to avoid the discussion of them. It has been sought to distinguish them in this way, that propitiation is the glorifying of God by the work of the cross, — the satisfying of His nature, — in such a manner as to enable the offer of grace to be made to all men; while substitution is that which unconditionally takes away the sins of His people. He is a propitiation for the whole world, it is said, but He bears only the sins of the latter: "The Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all" applies in this way, for those whose sins are borne could never have themselves to bear them. This, therefore, if true as to the world, would necessitate universal salvation. Let us look, then, at these questions, and what they involve.

First of all, if these views are true, they involve an atonement for the world different in character from that for believers. The work of the cross becomes a twofold work, and there is an atonement which saves and one that does not save. If the believer is only saved by his sins being borne by Another (and this is substitution), then if every one's sins are not borne, there can be no salvation, and no provision for the salvation, of any but the elect. Some, no doubt also, would accept this, and here is not the place to take it up: it is limited atonement of the most rigid kind, but does not allow of any "world" to which atonement can at all apply, except the world of the elect, nor of any propitiation which cannot save. As to this last, it is clearly right: a propitiation which cannot save is not in any true sense "propitiation."

But if, on the other hand, a propitiation without substitution still can save, then is substitution itself needless and meaningless: there is no place for it any where. So far is this, however, from the truth, that it ought not to need proof for those who have but their Old Testament before them, that in a substitutionary bearing of sin lies the very essence of sacrifice — of propitiation. Thus is God' s righteousness in the sentence upon sin maintained, in that which puts away sin; and in the Son of God becoming the substitute, divine love is maintained in righteousness. This is what propitiates, — not turns God's heart toward us, which was never estranged, but enables Him to show mercy consistently with all that He is.

Then, as to the extent of atonement or propitiation, it is indeed "for the whole world" (1 John 2:2), but not unconditionally: as it is elsewhere said, Christ is "a propitiation through faith, by His blood." (Rom. 3:25.) The word here is the word for the mercy-seat — the "propitiatory," which does not touch the meaning. He is thus a propitiation for the whole world, conditionally upon faith, thus in effect for believers — an unconditional propitiation for believers. And substitution is (as all allow) for believers; "a propitiation, through faith, by His blood," (as the R.V. rightly puts it,) binds together these two — propitiation and substitution — as equal in extent and upon the same condition for all.

"God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Here is the universality of the atonement, and the condition of faith wherever it shall avail. Election is a truth of Scripture, but it is never said that Christ died for the elect, either simply or in any special way. To the sinners at Corinth Paul preached as gospel that "Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3), — that is, of course, for the sins of those whom he was then addressing; and the effect being conditioned upon faith, "all who believe are justified from all things" (Acts 13:39), and "justified by faith," — that is, when they believe. It is never said that Christ died for the elect, or that men are justified by their election, but by their faith. "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." (Rom. 4:3.)

Believing sinners are thus the people for whom Christ died, a provision sufficient for the whole world, if the whole world would believe. Thus the offer of salvation can be truly made to all, and the responsibility of non-acceptance be truly pressed on all: "ye will not come unto Me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40). All this seems clear; the only real difficulty remains to be considered.

How could it be said in this way, "The Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all"? or that Christ "bare our sins in His own body on the tree"? Here habits of thought, and not the words of Scripture, create the perplexity. There is really the thought in the mind of what has been justly called a "commercial atonement," a thought which if fully weighed will be found to lower the character of it, and which is foreign to Scripture, though built upon mistaken inferences from it.

In the day of judgment men will be "judged according to their works." Every sin will receive its just recompense; there will be the infliction of "few stripes" or "many stripes." Penalty will be strictly commensurate with desert.

Now, if Christ "bare our sins in His own body on the tree," this principle has been thought to involve the strict penalty of these sins in full measurement being laid upon Him — so much suffering for so much sin. Here it is easy to see that if this be so, atonement must be strictly limited. To atone for one sinner, nay, for one more sin, He must suffer more. Then too if He suffered for these sins, those whose sins they were could not suffer for them. The highest Calvinistic view results: an absolutely efficacious atonement for those whose sins He really bore, and for others none whatever.

But Scripture says nothing of all this, and what it does say is inconsistent with it: a propitiation for the whole world would in this way be impossible, and so would the over-payment which the trespass-offering insists upon. Was the value of the cross indeed only sufficient to save just so many? or if the whole world had been saved by it, would there not have been an over-payment still? Yes, surely: for the power of the atonement and the glory of the work accomplished were not in so much deserved suffering meted out to One who had not deserved it, but in that death and wrath which were man's portion proclaimed as the holy judgment of God by Him who went into them in a perfect love that was the full expression of divine love. The "substitute for penalty," which some speak of here would not have done this; and the "equivalent," which others advocate, could not be found. "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."

And if our sins brought Him to this, as they did, why should we not be able to say that "Himself bare our sins in His own body," as the sacrificial victim? or looking at the whole multitude of the redeemed, that, "Jehovah laid upon Him the iniquity of us all"? The sacrifice is truly, fully efficacious for all His people, and that not merely for a certain defined number, but limitless save by the unbelief that can "neglect so great salvation."}

For us all it avails to show that the blessed sacrifice puts away sin for none until it has been confessed to God by those whose hearts have turned to Him in that repentance which is never separate from faith. It is a condition of the gospel, that "if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9.)

(5) The first four sections of this chapter, complete the peculiar features of the day of atonement. The high-priest now puts off the white linen garments with which he went into the sanctuary, and returns to his garments of glory and beauty, his usual official dress. In this he offers the burnt-offering and burns the fat of the sin-offering upon the altar. We have already seen the significance of these two things, which add the positive side of acceptance in Christ to the negative putting away of sin and with this agrees the blooming out of color in the high-priest's robe. It is like Joseph's variegated coat, God's recognition in delight of His Son, and upon this footing is man now with God, the meaning, as I believe, of the numerical place of this section; and briefly though it is given, how much would be lacking if we had not this!

(6) Next we have, in the burning of the sin-offering outside the camp, the way in which sin is overcome and removed, and which Heb. 13 links so decisively with the entrance of the blood into the holy place. This too, then, has its necessary place here: its exposition has been already elsewhere given.

(7) Lastly, in connection with all this, we have a sabbath of rest appointed, in which all work is solemnly forbidden. In connection with atonement the meaning is most simple. Whether for Israel or for the believer now, no work of man must supplement the glorious work which has been done for sinners. On the other hand, the rest so dearly purchased for us is not to be received with light and indifferent hearts: Israel were to "afflict their souls" on the day of atonement, just as on the passover they were to eat the bitter herbs with the lamb. A humble and chastened spirit alone becomes those who enjoy rest through His toil, — a peace made through the blood of the cross.

2. The seventeenth chapter is strictly an appendix to the sixteenth, as has been already said. Its central thought is of atonement by blood, the testimony as to which, as a thing of surpassing importance, is enjoined to be maintained throughout the daily life.

Whenever ox or sheep or goat was slain by any, there was to be recognition of the need of atonement, and how it had been met. In fact, to one enlightened by the Word of God, all nature is full of such remembrances; but nothing speaks more clearly than this great natural ordinance that death should be the sustenance of life. Accordingly, every such meal God ordained to be in communion with the altar, a feast upon an offering. How blessed would it be for us if nature's real lessons were known and laid to heart after this manner continually, and our common every-day lives thus lifted into higher meaning! Thus would God make Christ to be ever before our eyes, and fellowship with Him to be confirmed and strengthened — the things seen and temporal to minister to the things unseen and eternal!

As a provision against the wandering heart after other gods also, there is in all this deep significance. In truth, it is the unoccupied part of our lives — whatever in them is not positively consecrated to God — that betrays us to the enemy. We need to realize that in an enemy's country as we are, and not only so, but on a daily battle-field, there can be no neutral ground. Whatever, as well as whosoever, is not for Christ is against Him. There is no place where sin will not gain advantage over us except the presence of God. "Thou art my hiding-place," needs to be continually the language of our souls.

The eleventh verse, that in which we find the heart of the whole chapter, has been already considered. It shows us how it is the blood maketh atonement for the soul: it is because the life is in the blood; and to pour out the blood is therefore the sign of death, not of life, as some perversely take it: "He poured out his soul'' — or "life" — "unto death," is the inspired interpretation.