This chapter seems to give a more condensed picture of the work and sacrifices of the Day of Atonement than the one already examined (16.), and in addition, it furnishes certain features which, after the consideration of the sixteenth, will be of interest to us. It is another picture of the Atonement.
"And Moses saith, This is the thing which the Lord commanded that ye should do: and the glory of the Lord shall appear unto you. And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the Altar and offer thy sin-offering and thy burnt-offering and make an atonement for thyself [the members of his body required it] and for the people" [the world].
This shows how Jesus [the bullock sacrifice for sins] was sufficient to redeem both his body, the "little flock," and also the whole world of mankind. Our share in the sin-offering could have been dispensed with entirely; we might have been saved from death and restored to perfection of human nature, just as all mankind will be. But it pleased Jehovah not only to choose Jesus to this great work of sacrifice, but also to make him the Captain or Head of his "Church, which is his Body," who, as well as their Captain, should be made perfect as SPIRITUAL beings, by suffering as sin-offerings, in the flesh.
Paul, referring to our intimate relationship to our Head, says: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places [the "Holy" and the "Most Holy"] in Christ; according as he hath CHOSEN US in him before the foundation of the world—to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath [justified or] made us accepted in the beloved." (Eph. 1:4,6.) God "called you by our gospel to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thes. 2:14), so that "if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him."—2 Tim. 2:12.
To continue—After offering his own sacrifice once for all, he was to "offer the offering of the people [the goat], and make an atonement for them [all Israel] as Jehovah commanded." (This arrangement for our having part in the sacrifice of atonement was a part of our Father's original plan, as Paul also attests.)
"Aaron therefore went unto the altar and slew the calf [Heb., young bullock] of the sin-offering which was for [instead of, a substitute for] himself. And the sons of Aaron brought the blood unto him, and he dipped his finger in the blood and put it on the horns of the altar; but the fat, [etc.] the flesh and the hide he burned with fire without the camp. And he slew the burnt-offering [a ram], and Aaron's sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled round about upon the altar. And they presented the burnt-offering unto him; and he did wash the inwards and the legs, and burnt them upon the burnt-offering on the altar, with the pieces thereof and the head." (Much the same account as in the 16th chapter, and having the same significance. See August TOWER.)
Thus the burnt-offering of Jesus has been burning all through the Gospel Age, giving evidence to all in the "Court" of God's acceptance of him and the acceptance of all the members of the body—laid to the head, on the altar.
"And he brought the people's offering, and took the goat which was the sin-offering for the people [not for the Priests and Levites] and slew it and offered it for sin as the first," i.e., treated it exactly as he treated the bullock. This goat is the same as the "Lord's goat" in the other picture, the scape-goat and the other features being omitted in this more general view. It is, however, confirmatory of the teaching, that only those who follow the Lord's footsteps are participants in the sin-offering.
"And he brought the burnt-offering and offered it according to the [usual] manner. And he brought the meat-offering, and took a handful of it and offered it upon the altar beside the burnt-sacrifice of the morning."
"He slew also the bullock and the ram for a sacrifice of peace-offerings which was for the people." The peace-offering, as already described, represents a vow or covenant. By this peace-offering, made in connection with the sin-offering of the High Priest, is signified the covenants and promises based on the sin-offering. In the type, the peace was established between Jehovah and Israel on this wise: The sin-offering having been made, also the burnt-offering showing the acceptableness of it to God, there was peace between Jehovah and Israel because their former Adamic sin was typically removed; and they were obligated to now live obedient to a covenant based on their forgiveness—i.e. they were to keep the Law—that he that doeth those things should live by (or as a reward for keeping) them. But as our sin-sacrifices are better than the typical ones, so with the peace-offering or covenant established by those sacrifices: it is a better covenant. Thus in this sacrifice of peace, or covenant-offering, the Priest is seen to serve unto the example and shadow of spiritual things—the mediator of a better covenant (Heb. 8:6-13), under which all people shall be blessed with RESTITUTION, and thus be enabled to obey the perfect law and live forever.
"And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people and blessed them and came down from offering of the sin-offering, and the burnt-offering and peace-offerings." Thus in the type we see illustrated the fact that though the blessing is not fully due to come upon the people until all sacrifices are finished, yet a measure of blessing comes upon mankind from the members of the Priest, even now during the age of sacrifice, before we all go into the "Most Holy" or spiritual condition.
When this day (age) of sacrifice is over, the complete Priest (head and body) will appear before God, and give evidence of having met all the claims of the law against the people (the world). It will be noticed that while the Type of Lev. 16 th divides the work of the Atonement Day, and shows all the particulars of how the Lord's sacrifice first makes ours worthy of acceptance, etc., this type shows the entire work of the Gospel age as successive offerings, yet joined really in one—all the sufferings of Christ, when ended, followed at once by restitution blessings. The going in of Moses, also, seems to say, The Law is fully satisfied and its righteousness vindicated in the sacrifice of Christ. The Law (represented in the type by Moses) will testify on behalf of the world, that it is justified to life through the sacrifices of the Priest who "offered up himself."
When presented, the entire sacrifice was "holy, acceptable to God," and Moses and Aaron came out, and together they blessed the people. So in the incoming age, the Christ will bless all the families of the earth (Gal. 3:8,16,29; Gen. 12:3), yet not by setting aside or ignoring the Law of God and excusing sin, but by restoring men to perfection of humanity, in which condition they will be able to keep the perfect Law of God, and be blessed by it. Blessed by the Priest, made perfect and able to keep the Law, its condition of "do and live" will be a great blessing to all men; for whosoever will may then obey and live forever in happiness and communion with Jehovah.
"And the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people." As the blessing progresses (restoring and elevating the race mentally and physically) the results will become manifest. The people—the world in general—will recognize God's gracious love, more and more each day. Thus it will be, that "the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." (Isa. 40:5.) They will come to see, gradually, the length and breadth and height and depth of the love of God, which surpasseth all understanding.
It is worthy of note that the blessing here mentioned was not a blessing to the under-priests. No; they were represented in the blesser—in Aaron. The blessing came on all the people of Israel, who, in type, represented the world. It is this blessing of the world by the "SEED"—the entire Christ, after all the afflictions are filled up by the Body (Col. 1:24)—that Paul refers to, saying, "The whole creation [humanity] groaneth and travaileth in pain together...waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God." Before they can experience deliverance from the bondage of corruption [sin and death] and restoration to the liberty of sons of God [freedom from condemnation, sin and death, etc.], as enjoyed by God's first human son, Adam (Luke 3:38), the Atonement Day sacrifices must be finished, and the priests who sacrificed must be clothed with the royal, divine authority and power to thus set them free.
SIN [without any contamination from those sins borne for sinners] unto salvation." (Heb. 9:28.) The world has seen the Priest—head and body—suffer as a sin-offering); during this age: Jesus was manifested to the Jews in the flesh (as a sin-offering); and as Paul could say, so can all the followers in his footsteps say, "Christ is manifest in our mortal flesh." (2 Cor. 4:11.) As the whole Christ has thus been manifest and suffered in the flesh, so they shall also be "glorified together" before the world; for the glory [the blessing and salvation] of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." When he shall appear, we also shall appear with him in glory.—Col. 3:4.
But this great High Priest of the world will be recognized only by "them that look for him." If he were to appear in the flesh, in the sky, or elsewhere, it would be an appearance to all, whether looking for him or not; but we have already seen that the Scriptures teach that the Head has been perfected as a spirit being, and that his "little flock" shall be made "like him," spirit beings, of the divine nature, which no man hath seen nor can see. (1 Tim. 6:16.) We have seen that the way in which the world will see the glorified Church will be by mental perception, in the same sense that a blind person may properly be said to see. In the same sense we now see the prize, the "crown of life," "while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen [by physical sight]; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Cor. 4:18.) It is in this way that the entire Church of this age has been "looking unto Jesus;" thus "we see Jesus."—Heb. 2:9 and 12:2.
This is the only way in which the human can see or recognize things on the spiritual plane. Jesus expressed this same idea to the disciples, that they who recognized his spirit or mind, and thus knew him, would be acquainted with the Father also in the same way. "If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also; and from henceforth ye know him and have seen him." This is the only sense in which the world will ever see God, for "no man hath seen God at any time" ["whom no man hath seen, nor can see"]—"the only begotten Son, he hath declared him." (1 Tim. 6:16; John 1:18.) Jesus revealed or caused his disciples to see him by making known his character—revealing him as the God of Love.
Thus it is that Jesus, the head (now present to gather the jewels), is being now revealed to the living members of the "little flock," though others know not of his presence.—Luke 17:26-30.
Thus also it will be in the Millennial day, when the complete Christ—the Priest—is revealed; he will be revealed only to those that look for him, and only those shall see him. They will see him, not by physical sight, but as we now see all spiritual things—Jesus, the Father, the prize, etc.—by the eye of faith. Men will not see the Christ by physical sight, for the same reason that they will never see Jehovah; because on a different plane of being—one spirit, the other flesh. But we (the little flock) shall see him as he is, for we shall be like him.—1 John 3:2.
But, though only those who look shall be able to recognize the Christ as the deliverer who will save them from the dominion of death, yet this will embrace all the world, for the manner of revelation will be such that ultimately all must see. Every eye shall see him; and all in their graves, being then awakened, even they that pierced him will realize that they crucified the Lord of glory. "He shall be revealed [In the sky? No!] in flaming fire [judgments], taking vengeance on those that know not [acknowledge not] God, and that obey not the gospel of Christ." It will not take long for all mankind to recognize him under such circumstances. Now the [R1237 : page 4] good suffer; then shall ye discern between him that serveth the Lord, and him that serveth him not; for in that day the distinction will be manifested. (Mal. 3:15-18.) Then all, seeing clearly, may accept of him and have everlasting life; for "We trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe."—1 Tim. 4:10.
This the types illustrate—"And as it is appointed unto men [Aaron and his successors, who were only types of the High Priest of the new creation] once to die [typically, as represented in the animal slain], and after this [following as a result of those sacrifices] the judgment [of God, manifesting approval or disapproval of the sacrifice], so Christ [head and body, the true, Royal Priesthood] was once offered [never will it be repeated] to bear the sins of many ["every man"]; and unto them that look for him, he shall appear the second time, without sin [not blemished by the sins borne, nor to repeat the sin-offering, but] unto salvation"—to give the redeemed life to all who desire it upon God's conditions of faith and obedience.—Heb. 9:27,28.
Every time a Priest went into the Most Holy on the Atonement Day he risked his life; for if his sacrifice had been imperfect he would have died as he passed the second Vail. Neither would he have been accepted into the Most Holy himself, nor would his imperfect sacrifice have been acceptable as an atonement for the sins of the people. Hence any failure meant his death, and the continuance in condemnation of all whose sins he attempted to cover or propitiate. This was the "judgment." Jesus, our Priest, passed this judgment successfully; his sacrifice was acceptable, as evidenced in his sending the blessing at Pentecost, which was a guarantee or assurance that ultimately he [and we in him] would come forth to bless the people—the world, for whose sins he fully and acceptably atoned.
Many have been looking in an indefinite way for a good time to come, for the removal in some manner of the curse of sin and dying and general evil; but they have not understood the long delay. They do not realize that the sacrifice of the Day of Atonement is necessary before the glory and blessing can come. "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, waiting [though in ignorance] for the manifestation of the sons of God."—Rom. 8:19,22.
"And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt-offering and the fat, which, when all the people saw, they shouted and fell on their faces"—worshipped. This is the same thought expressed in another form. The fire symbolizes God's acceptance; its recognition by the people shows that the world will realize the sacrifice and its value in God's estimation as the price of their liberty from death and the grave; and when they realize it, they will worship Jehovah and his representative, the Priest.
How beautifully these types teach a restitution, and a full ransom for all the people, and a blessing to come upon all. Nothing in the types seems to make a distinction between the living and the dead, and some may be inclined to infer that when the sacrifices of the High Priest are over, and the blessing commences, only those who are then living will be greatly benefited. But we answer, Nay, in God's estimation the living and the dead are alike; he speaks of them all as dead; all died in Adam, and all the little spark of life which any man possesses is really but one stage of dying. It is a dead race because of the sin of Adam, and it will be a race justified at the close of the Day of Atonement, to the same life he enjoyed and forfeited; and all who will, may have back life, liberty, favor of God and all that was lost, whether they have gone all the way down into death, or whether they still linger on the brink—in "the valley of the shadow of death."
This is the object of the sin-offerings; to release mankind from the dominion of death and restore them to the perfection of being which is essential to perfect happiness and at-one-ment with the Creator. This is the blessing which comes to all the families of the earth through The Seed of Abraham. This is the good news which was preached to Abraham, as we read: "God, foreseeing that he would justify the heathen [all mankind—Gentiles] through faith, preached before the gospel [good tidings] to Abraham, saying, In thee, and in thy seed, shall all nations be blessed [justified]...which Seed is Christ [primarily the head, and secondarily the body]; and if ye be Christ's [members] then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" referred to—viz.: that these may bless all the families of the earth. (Gal. 3:16,19.) But the Seed must be complete before the blessing comes, as shown in the type just considered:—The sin-offering must be ended before all the blessings resulting can flow out.
While the sacrifices of the people (Israel—the world) belong to the next age, and will then be presented to the Priests, yet in a certain sense this has a very slight beginning now. Thus it is that the worldly man possessed of wealth is in that sense a steward of God's things, and can use that "mammon" and with it make for himself friends; that when this age of Satan's rule is ended, and the reign of Christ commences, in which he shall no longer be a steward, then those whom he thus favored will bless him. If the worldly stewards of wealth (the mammon or god of this age) were wise, they would use more of their means thus. For whosoever shall give even a cup of cold water unto one of the least of these (Priests) shall by no means lose his reward when the kingdom of Christ is organized and its rule begins.—Luke 16:1-8 and Matt. 10:42.
The restriction that the High Priest alone went into the Most Holy once a year to make an atonement should not be misunderstood to mean that he and the under-priests never went in thither during succeeding days—after the Atonement Day had made full reconciliation for sins. On the contrary, the High Priest went in there often in after days. It was into the Most Holy that the High Priest went whenever he would inquire for Israel, using the breast-plate of Judgment, the Urim and Thummim. Again, whenever they broke camp, which was often, the Priests went in and took down the Vails and wrapped up the Ark, and all the holy vessels, before the Levites could carry them.—Num. 4:5-16.
Again, whenever an Israelite offered a sin-offering unto the priests (after the "Day of Atonement" sacrifices were over), they all ate it in the Most Holy. (Num. 18:10.) So with the antitype, after the present "Day of Atonement" is over; the "Royal Priesthood" shall be in the Most Holy or perfect spiritual condition, and there accept (eat) the sacrifices for sin, brought by the world for their own transgressions—not the Adamic sins which were canceled on the Day of Atonement. There, in the perfect spiritual condition, the priesthood shall instruct in every matter, as represented in the decisions and answers given to Israel by the Urim and Thummim.
As in the type the Day of Atonement sacrifices preceded all others, and were a basis of general forgiveness and acceptance with God for all Israel, but were followed by other sacrifices after that day, for individual sins, termed "sin-offerings," "trespass-offerings," etc., so it will be in the antitype. After the sacrifices of this Gospel Age shall have brought the world into a justified condition, there will still be sins and trespasses committed, which will require confession and reconciliation, making these after-sacrifices necessary.
The Atonement Day sacrifices represent the cancellation of Adamic sin by the sacrifice of the Christ, but during the Millennium, while the benefits of that atonement are being applied to the world, while they are being gradually restored to actual perfection and life and harmony with God, errors will be committed, for which they will be in some measure individually responsible. For such they must make some amend, accompanied by repentance, before they can be again in harmony with God through Christ their Mediator.
Consecration will be also in order in the next age, though, owing to the changed government of the world, consecration will no longer, as now, mean unto death, but on the contrary it will be unto life, for with the close of Satan's reign comes the end of pain, sorrow and death, except upon evil-doers. Consecration must always be a voluntary presentation of one's powers, and hence this is represented in some of the sacrifices after the Atonement-Day.
As the basis of all forgiveness of sins in the next age will be the "Day of Atonement sacrifices," it would be appropriate in the type for the sinner to bring some sacrifice which would indicate a recognition of those sacrifices, as the ground for forgiveness anew. And so we find that all offerings of the people after the Day of Atonement were of a kind which pointed back to, or recognized, the sacrifices of that day. These offerings might be of cattle, or sheep, or fowl (turtle doves or young pigeons), or of fine flour, the article offered depending on the ability of the offerer.
During the Millennial Age all men "will come to a knowledge of the truth," and be saved from the curse of Adamic death. (1 Tim. 2:4.) When we remember that this death includes all the sickness, pain and imperfection to which humanity is now subject, we see that God's plan includes a full restoration to human perfection; but perfection will come gradually, and it will require the co-operation of the sinner's WILL to ever reach it. He must do what he can to climb up again to perfection, and will have all the assistance necessary. This is shown by these sacrifices in general; they were to be according to every man's ability. If very much degraded by sin and very imperfect, he must, when he comes to a knowledge of the truth, present himself to God. If thus poor and degraded he may bring a dove, or pigeon; when less degraded, a goat; and when perfect as a man his offering may be a bullock. Just as a bullock was used to typify the perfect humanity (much fat) of Jesus' sacrifice, and as a goat (wayward and lean) was used to represent our imperfect human nature in the sacrifices of this Atonement Day, so those animals similarly represent the offerers (Israel—typical of the then believing world) in their consecrations. But it should be remembered that these Burnt offerings and Peace offerings of the future represent the people as consecrating—giving themselves to the Lord. They do not represent atonement sacrifices as the sin offerings of the Atonement Day do.
When the whole world has been brought to perfection there will be no longer any who are poor in this sense—in the sense of deficiency of mental, moral or physical ability; all will be perfect men and their offerings will be their perfect selves, typified by bullocks. David, speaking of this, says: "Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness (of right doing), with burnt offering and whole burnt offering then shall they offer bullocks (perfect sacrifices) upon thine altar." (Psa. 51:19.) Yet that David's language should not be understood to teach the restoration of the literal, bloody, typical sacrifices is evident, for in the same connection he says, "Thou desirest not sacrifice" (the typical) broken spirit; and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." All these sacrifices must be of the free will and desire of the offerer.—Lev. 1:3.
The completeness of consecration is shown by the death of the animal; that is, each member of the race must consecrate his will; but it will be followed neither by the destruction of the human nature (the burning of the flesh outside the camp) nor by the taking of the life into a new nature—into the Most Holy; only the High Priest enters there, as shown in the Atonement sacrifices. No; when consecrated, they are accepted as human beings, their right to life as such having been purchased by the High Priest, in the members of whose body all the overcoming Church is represented. Their consecration represents their appreciation of their ransom and their acquiescence to the law of God as the condition upon which they shall continue to live everlastingly in harmony and favor with him.
The burnt offerings of the Priests were to be kept up continually on the Altar, and the fire never suffered to die out. "This is the law of the Burnt Offering; it is the Burnt Offering because of the burning upon the Altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the Altar shall be burning in it....It shall not be put out, and the Priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it....The fire shall ever be burning upon the Altar; it shall never go out."—Lev. 6:9,12,13.
Thus is represented to the mind of each offerer the fact that the Altar was already sanctified or set apart, and their offerings acceptable because of God's acceptance of the Atonement Day sacrifices. To this Altar the Israelite brought his free will offering as narrated in Lev. 1. It was made in the usual way; the animal, cut in pieces and washed, was laid, the pieces to the head, on the Altar, and wholly burnt, a sacrifice of sweet savor unto the Lord. This would serve to typify a thankful prayer to Jehovah—an acknowledgment of his mercy, wisdom and love, as manifested in the broken body of the Christ—their ransom.
"If a soul [being] commit a trespass and sin through ignorance in the holy things of the Lord;...if he sin and commit any of these things which are forbidden [R1237 : page 5] to be done by the Commandments of the Lord, though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity." "And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock," and money according to the Priest's estimation of the trespass, with a FIFTH MORE, and this shall be their offering. And the priest shall make an atonement for him. And if any sin knowingly and damage or defraud his neighbor, he shall restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto [twenty per cent. interest] and give it to the wronged one. And he shall bring a ram for the trespass offering unto the Lord.—Lev. 5:15-19; and 6:1-7.
This teaches that for every wrong, restoration must be made with interest, and a repentance or asking forgiveness of the Lord through the Church (Priesthood); their recognition of their own imperfections and the value of their ransom being shown by the ram presented.
But notice the difference between the treatment of this sin-offering and the sin-offerings of the Day of Atonement: The latter were offered to God (Justice) in the Holy as the ransom or purchase-price of sinners; the former were offered to the Priests who, during the Atonement Day, had purchased the people. The acknowledgement of the people will be made to their Redeemer. The Priest took a part and offered it to the Lord as a memorial, as a recognition that the whole plan of redemption as executed on the Atonement Day (Gospel Age) was his, appropriating to himself (eating) the remainder.
The offerings of the Atonement Day, we have seen, were always burned (Lev. 6:30; Heb. 13:11), but the after sin-offerings are not to be burned, but eaten by the Priests. "This is the law of the sin-offering ....The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it....All the males among the priests shall eat thereof."—Lev. 6:25-29.
The whole world, purchased with the precious blood (human life) of Christ, will present themselves, for forgiveness of trespass, to the Royal Priesthood who paid their ransom-price; and their acceptance of the gift will be the forgiveness. To this agree Jesus' words to his disciples: "He breathed on them and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit. Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain [to them] they are retained."—John 20:23.
While this "ministry of reconciliation" belongs in its fullest sense in the next age, when all the sacrifices of Atonement will have been completed, yet even now, any member of the "Royal Priesthood" may say to those who believe and repent, "Thy sins are forgiven thee"—as did our Head, by faith looking forward to the completion of the sacrifice for sins, which sacrifice he had begun.
This offering must be of the herd or flock, and it might be made either in fulfilment of a vow (covenant), or as a willing "thank-offering." Part of it was to be brought to Jehovah by the offerer—"His own hands shall bring the offerings of the Lord made by fire; the fat with the breast; it shall he bring," and the priest shall burn the fat on the altar, and wave the breast before the Lord. But the breast shall be the priest's, also the shoulder. The offerer must eat the sacrifice.—Lev. 3 and 7:11-18,30-34.
This seems to show, that if any man would come into a condition of full peace and harmony (as all are to do or else be cut off in the second death), he must eat or fulfil a covenant before God, of entire consecration to him. If, after being thus perfected, he again becomes defiled with sin, he must die (the second death), as shown by the touching of unclean things.—Lev. 7:19-21.
With this sacrifice there was presented an offering of unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and anointed wafers, representing the offerer's faith in Christ's character, which he will copy; and leavened bread indicating his acknowledgment of his own present imperfection at the time of consecration—leaven being a type of sin.—Lev. 7:11-13.
These, of fine flour, unleavened cakes, with oil, etc., were presented to the Lord through the priest. They probably represent praises and worship offered to the Lord by the world, through his Church. "Unto him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages." (Eph. 3:21.) These were accepted by the priests. A sample being offered on the Altar shows that it was acceptable to Jehovah.
In the preceding description we have purposely omitted an explanation of some interesting details which can now be better understood by those who have, through careful study, obtained a clear understanding of the general plan of the Tabernacle, its services, and their typical signification.
THE POSTS which stood in the court, and held up the white curtains, represent justified believers. They are in the "Court," the proper place for such, as we have already seen. They are of wood, a corruptible material. This shows that they are not actually perfect as human beings; for since human perfection is represented by copper, those posts should either be made of copper, or covered with copper, to represent actually perfect human beings. They were made of wood, but were set into sockets of copper, which teaches us that, though actually imperfect, their standing is that of perfect human beings. It would be impossible more clearly to represent justification by faith.
THE WHITE CURTAIN, which, held up by those posts, formed the Court, well illustrates the same justification or purity. Thus justified ones should continually hold up to the view of the world (the camp) the pure linen representing Christ's righteousness, as their covering.
THE SILVER HOOKS, by which the posts held up the curtain, are symbolic of truth. Silver is a general symbol of truth. They can really and truthfully claim that Christ's righteousness covers all their imperfections. (Lev. 27:11-17.) And it is only by the aid of the truth that they are able to hold to their justification.
THE POSTS at the entrance of the Tabernacle—at the "door" of the Holy—were covered by the first vail. They were totally different from the posts in the court, and represent the consecrated saints. The difference between these and the posts in the "Court" shows the difference between the justified and the sanctified conditions. The consecration to death of a justified man we have seen to be the way into the "Holy"—passing through the death of the human will, the fleshly mind, the first vail. Hence these posts should illustrate this change; and so they do. They were covered with gold, symbol of the divine nature. Being set in sockets of copper represents how "we have this treasure [divine nature] in earthen vessels" (2 Cor. 4:7)—i.e., our new nature is still based upon, and rests in, our justified humanity. This, it will be remembered, corresponds exactly with what we found the "Holy" to symbolize, viz.: our place or standing as new creatures, not yet perfected.—Exod. 26:37.
THE POSTS in the "Most Holy" were just inside the second vail, and represent those who pass beyond the flesh (vail) entirely, into the perfection of the spiritual condition. These posts were so constructed as to fully illustrate this—covered with gold, representing divine nature, but no longer set in sockets of copper—no longer dependent on any human condition; they were set in sockets of silver (reality, truth), which seem to say to us: When you come inside this vail you will be perfect—really and truly new creatures.—Exod. 26:32.
THE GOLDEN TABLE bearing the shewbread represents the church as a whole, including Jesus and the Apostles—all "holding forth the word of life." (Phil. 2:16.) The great work of the true church during this age is to feed, strengthen and enlighten all who enter the covenanted spiritual condition. The bride of Christ is to make herself ready. (Rev. 19:7.) The witnessing to the world during the present age is quite secondary and incidental. The full blessing of the world will follow in God's "due time."
THE GOLDEN CANDLESTICK was all of one piece, hammered out; there was one central shaft with a lamp on top, and three branches on each side of it, each bearing a lamp, making seven lamps in all—a perfect or complete number. This represents the complete Church, from the Head, Jesus, to and including the last member of the "little flock" that he is taking out from among men, to be partakers of the divine (gold) nature. Jesus says, "The seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches" (Rev. 1:20)—the one Church whose seven stages or developments were symbolized in the seven congregations of Asia minor. (Rev. 1:11.) Yes, that candlestick represents the entire Church of the First-born—not the nominal but the true church—the Royal Priesthood.
The form of workmanship was beautiful—a fruit and a flower, a fruit and a flower following successively, which shows us that the true church ("whose names are written in heaven") is both beautiful and fruitful from first to last. The lamp part on top of each branch was shaped like an almond, the significance of which we shall see when considering Aaron's rod.
The oil for this lamp was olive oil—beaten or refined; and the lamps were kept lighted always. Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. The light was for the benefit of the priests only, and represents the spirit or mind of God given to enlighten the Church, in the deep things of God, which are entirely hidden from the natural man (1 Cor. 2:14), even though he be a believer—a justified man (a Levite). None but the truly consecrated ones, the Royal Priesthood, are even to see into this deeper light, hidden in the "Holy." These always have access to the "Holy;" it is their right and privilege; it was intended for them. (Heb. 9:6.) The Levite class can not see in, because of the vail of human-mindedness which comes between them and the sacred things; and the only way to set it aside is to consecrate and sacrifice wholly the human nature.
The lights were to be trimmed and replenished every morning and evening by the High Priest—Aaron and his sons who succeeded him in office. (Exod. 27:20-21; and 30:8.) So our High Priest is daily filling us more and more with the mind of Christ, and trimming off the dross of the old nature.
We are sometimes puzzled to know why some religious people cannot see any but natural things and cannot discern the deeper spiritual truths of the Word. They can see restitution for natural men, but cannot see the divine, heavenly calling. These Tabernacle lessons show us why this is. They are brethren of the household of faith, but not brethren in Christ—consecrated sacrificers. They are Levites—in the Court: they never consecrated as priests, and consequently cannot enter the "Holy," nor see the things prepared for the priestly class only. The natural "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard—neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us [who, through consecration, have become "partakers of the divine nature,"] by his Spirit [light of the lamp], for the Spirit searcheth [revealeth] all things—yea, the deep [hidden] things of God."—1 Cor. 2:9.
The church nominal has always included both the justified and sanctified classes—Levites and Priests. In Paul's letters certain parts were addressed to the justified class (Levites) who had not fully consecrated. Thus, after exhorting in Gal. 5, he winds up by assuring them that the things he complains of are evidences that they do not belong to the Body of Christ, the Priesthood: for, he says, "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." (Verse 24.) In the same way he addresses the Romans (Chap. 12:1.): "I beseech you, therefore, brethren [believers—justified by faith in Christ—Levites], by the mercies of God [manifest through Christ in our justification], that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice [that you consecrate wholly—thus becoming Priests], holy, acceptable unto God." Being justified freely by faith in Jesus, God reckons you as sinless, or holy; and he has agreed to accept every such sacrifice—"With such sacrifice he is ever well pleased." By so doing, you become Priests—members in particular of the High Priest's body.
The succeeding verse tells them what will result from consecrating—viz., the transformation of their minds. Their wills being renewed, they will be priests—new creatures possessing the spirit of Christ. The fact that at this time they had not the spirit of sacrifice is an evidence that they were not members of Christ—for "if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Rom. 8:9.) And it seems evident that by far the larger proportion of the early churches (much more so of the modern worldly mixture, the confused "Babylon" of the present day) were not consecrated, and consequently were not Priests, but merely Levites, doing the service of the sanctuary, but not sacrificing.
Looking back at the type in the Law, we find that there were 8,580 Levites appointed in the typical service, while only five Priests were appointed for the typical sacrificing. (Num. 4:36,40,44,48; Exod. 28:1.) It may be that this, as much as the other features of that shadow, was designed to illustrate the proportion of justified believers to self-sacrificing, consecrated ones. Though now the nominal church numbers millions, yet when an allowance is made for hypocrites, and one in every seventeen hundred of the remainder supposed to be living sacrifices (a correct proportion according to the type), it seems quite evident that the Lord did not make a misstatement when he said that those who would receive the kingdom (the Royal Priesthood) would be a "little flock."—Luke 12:32.
The fact that we see believers who are trying to put away their sins is not of itself evidence of their being Priests, for Levites, as well as Priests, should practice "circumcision of the heart"—"putting away the filth [sins] of the flesh." Nor is a spirit of meekness, gentleness, benevolence and morality always a result of consecration to God. These qualities belong to a perfect natural man (the image of God), and occasionally they partially survive the wreck of the fall. But such, in the nominal church, not infrequently pass for proofs of full consecration.
Even when we see believers practicing self-denial in some good work of political or moral reform, that is not an evidence of consecration to God, though it is an evidence of consecration to a work. Consecration to God says, Any work, anywhere; Lo, "I delight to do thy will, O God"—thy will, in thy way, be done. Consecration to God, then, will insure a searching of his revealed plan in his Word, that we may be able to spend and be spent, for him and in his service, according to his arranged plan.
Marvel not, then, that so few have ever seen the glorious beauties within the Tabernacle; only Priests can see them. The Levites may know of them only as they hear them described. They have never seen the hidden light and beauty; never eaten of the "bread of presence;" never offered the acceptable incense at the Golden Altar. No; to enjoy these, they must pass the Vail—into entire consecration to God in sacrifice, during the Atonement Day.
THE GOLDEN ALTAR seems also to represent the entire (consecrated) church in the present sacrificing condition. From this altar ascends the sweet incense, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ—the willing services of the priests: their praises, their willing obedience; all things whatsoever they do, to the glory of God. Those who thus offer incense acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:5) come very close to their Father—close up to the Vail which separates from the Most Holy; and if they have requests to make they may be presented with the incense—"much incense with the prayers of saints." (Rev. 8:3.) The prayers of such priests of God are effectual. Jesus kept the incense continually burning, and could say "I know that thou hearest me always." (John 11:42.) So we will be heard always, if we continually offer incense of faith, love and obedience to God; and none should expect to have requests recognized who do not thus keep their covenant—"If ye abide in me and my words [teachings] abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you."*—John 15:7.
*The necessity of a clear apprehension of Christ's teachings as a guide to our requests and expectations, that we may not "ask amiss" and out of harmony with God's plan, is clearly shown by this Scripture—but seldom noticed.
We have learned, through types previously considered, something of the glory of the "Most Holy" (the perfect, divine condition), which no man can approach unto (1 Tim. 6:16), but to which the "new creatures in Christ Jesus"—partakers of the divine nature—will finally come, when the incense-offering on the part of the entire Body of Christ, the Royal Priesthood, is finished, and the cloud of perfume goes before them into Jehovah's presence, that they may live beyond the Vail, being acceptable to God by Jesus Christ their Lord.
THE ARK. Let us now consider what God designed to symbolize by the "Ark of the Testimony," the only article of furniture in the "Most Holy." (See Heb. 9:2,3 and Diaglott foot note.) Its name suggests that it illustrates the embodiment of Jehovah's plan, which he had purposed in himself, before even the head of the Christ had been created, before the beginning of the creation of God, before the minutest development of his plan had taken place. It represented the purpose of God to develop a little flock, to be partakers of the divine nature and to be imbued with power and great glory—the prize of our high-calling; the joy set before our Lord, and all the members of his body.
As before stated, it was a rectangular box overlaid with gold, which represents the divine nature. It contained the two Tables of the Law (Deut. 31:24), and Aaron's Rod that budded (Num. 17:8), and the Golden Pot of Manna (Exod. 16:32). The Law showed how the Christ should meet in full all the requirements of God's perfect Law, and also that legal authority should be vested in him as the Law-executor.
The righteousness of the Law was actually fulfilled in our Head, and it is also fulfilled in all those new creatures who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit; that is, who walk in obedience to the new mind. The infirmities of the old nature which we are daily crucifying, once settled by our ransom-price, are not charged to us as new creatures.
When it is written that "the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us"—the end of our course (perfection) is reckoned to us, because we are walking toward or after that spiritual perfection which, when we reach the Ark condition in the "Most Holy," will be complete.
AARON'S ROD that budded shows the elect character of all the body of Christ, as members of the royal priesthood. By reading Numbers 17, the meaning of the budded rod will be seen to be Jehovah's acceptance of Aaron and his sons—the typical priesthood representing Christ and the church—as the only ones who might perform the priest's office of mediator. That rod, therefore, represented the acceptableness of the "Royal Priesthood"—the Christ, Head and Body. The rod budded and brought forth almonds. A peculiarity about the almond tree is, that the fruit-buds appear before the leaves; so with the "royal priesthood:" they sacrifice or bring forth fruit, before the leaves or professions are seen.
THE GOLDEN POT OF MANNA represents immortality as being one of the possessions of the Christ of God. Jesus doubtless refers to this, when he says: "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna." (Rev. 2:17.) Manna was the bread which came down from heaven—a life-sustainer; so God through Christ provides life for all Israel (the world) that they may live forever—continually eating of it; but he offers to those who become Christ's joint-heirs, members of the Anointed Body, that they shall have a peculiar sort of manna, or life principle, the "hidden manna." One peculiarity of this pot of manna was, that it was incorruptible; hence, it well illustrates the immortal, incorruptible condition promised to all members of the "Seed"—which is the Church. The manna fed to Israel was not incorruptible and must be gathered daily. So all the obedient except the "little flock" of priests will be provided with life everlasting, but conditional, supplied and renewed life; while the little flock, who under present unfavorable conditions are faithful overcomers, will be given an incorruptible portion—immortality. (See MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I., page 181.)
Here, then, in the golden Ark, is represented the glory to be revealed in the divine Christ; in the budded rod, God's chosen priesthood; in the tables of the Law, the righteous Judge; in the incorruptible manna in the golden bowl, immortality, divinity.
Above this Ark, and constituting a lid, or head over it, was the Mercy Seat—a slab of solid gold, on the two ends of which, and of the same piece of metal, were formed two cherubim, with wings uplifted as if ready to fly—their faces looking inward toward the centre of the plate on which they stood. Here, between the cherubim on the Mercy Seat, a bright light indicated Jehovah's presence.
To our understanding, as the Ark represents the Christ, so the Mercy Seat, Glory-light and Cherubim together represent Jehovah, God. As with Christ, so with Jehovah, he is here represented by things which illustrate attributes of his character. The light reminds us of Paul's words: (1 Tim. 6:16) God "only hath immortality, dwelling in light, which no man can approach unto." Humanity cannot enter his presence; hence, the priest-hood, Head and body, represented by Aaron, must become new creatures, "partakers of the divine nature" (having crucified and buried the human), before they can appear before that excellent glory.
The slab of gold called the Mercy Seat (or more properly the Propitiatory, because on it the Priest offered the blood of the sacrifices which propitiated or satisfied God's just demands), represents the underlying principle of Jehovah's character—JUSTICE. His throne is established upon JUSTICE. "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of thy throne."—Psa. 89:14; Rev. 15:3; Job 36:17 and 37:23; Isa. 56:1.
The TWO CHERUBIM represent two elements of our Father's character as revealed in his Word, viz.: Love and Power. These attributes, Justice the foundation principle and Love and Power of the same quality and lifted up out of it, are in perfect harmony with each other. They are all made of one piece; they are thoroughly one. Neither Love nor Power can be exercised unless Justice is fully satisfied. Then they fly to help, to lift up and to bless. They were on the wing, ready, but waiting; looking inward toward the Mercy Seat, toward Justice, to know when to move.
See the High Priest as he approaches with the blood of the Atonement sacrifices. Will he put it upon the Cherubim? No, neither the Power nor the Love of God independently require the sacrifice. He need not, therefore, sprinkle the Cherubim. It is the Justice of God that will by no means clear the guilty. It was Justice that said: "The wages of sin is death." When, therefore, the High Priest would give a ransom for sinners, it is to Justice that it must be paid. Hence the appropriateness of the ceremony of sprinkling the blood upon the Mercy Seat or
Love led to the whole redemptive plan. It was because God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son to redeem it by paying to Justice the ransom-price. So Love has been active, preparing for the redemption ever since sin entered; yes, from "before the foundation of the world."—1 Pet. 1:20.
When the Atonement Day sacrifices (bullock and goat) are complete, Love tarries to see the results of its plan. As the blood is sprinkled, Justice cries, It is enough; it is finished. Then comes the moment when Love and Power may act, and swiftly they wing their flight to bless the ransomed race. When Justice is satisfied, Power starts upon its errand, which is co-extensive with that of Love, using the same agency—Christ.
The relationship and oneness of that divine family—the Son and his Bride, represented by the Ark, in harmony and oneness with the Father, represented by the Cover—is shown in the fact that the Mercy Seat was the lid of the Ark, and hence a part—the top or head of it. As the head of the Church is Christ Jesus, so the head of the entire Christ is God. (1 Cor. 11:3.) This is the oneness for which Jesus prayed, saying: Father, "I pray not for the world, but for those thou hast given me"—"that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, that the world may [then] believe."—John 17:9,21.
It is significant, also, that any member of the priesthood that had a blemish of eye, hand, nose, foot, or in any way, could not fill the office of Priest [High Priest]; neither any man having any superfluity, such as an extra finger or toe. This seems to teach us of the perfection of every member of that body; they are all "overcomers." And furthermore, it shows that when the body of Christ is complete, there will be no additions permitted—no superfluity. If, then, we are called, if we have heard the invitation to become members in particular of his Body, and have accepted it, let us seek to make our calling and election [as members of that "little flock"] sure, by so running as to obtain the prize. If we miss the prize some one else will win in our place, for the body will be complete; not one member will be lacking, and not one superfluous. Take heed, "let no man take thy crown."—Rev. 3:11.
It has been a matter of surprise to some that the glory and beauty of the Tabernacle—its golden walls, its golden and beautifully engraved furniture, and vails of curious work, were so completely covered and hidden from view of the people; having no sunlight from without, even, to illuminate it. But this is all in keeping with the lessons we have received from its services. As God covered the type and hid its beauty under curtains and rough unsightly skins, so the glories and beauties of spiritual things are seen only by those who enter the consecrated condition—the Royal Priesthood. These, too, enter a hidden glory which the world and all outside fail to appreciate. Their glory and also their standing as new creatures are hidden from their fellowmen.