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Answer.—The blood presented in the Most Holy represented the life, or life-rights of the one sacrificed; but the blood itself was a symbol of death. When blood is in the veins it is a symbol of life. The blood of the bullock and, subsequently, the blood of the goat, in the hands of the priest, symbolically said, This animal is dead, and here is a proof of it. So the presentation of the blood meant the presentation of this sacrificed life with all the rights appertaining thereto.
Our Lord had certain life-rights when He died. The expression life-rights may properly be used also in connection with an individual who does not have life in the full sense, but who has made a full consecration and has been accepted by the Lord. Such a one is reckoned as having passed from death unto life. In the moment of his having righteousness imputed to him, he passes from death unto life. The Advocate has imputed to that one [R4877 : page 350] a sufficiency of His merit to compensate for any deficiency; he is thus rendered acceptable and is then in a reckonedly complete condition. He then has life-rights; and it is those life-rights that are said to be sacrificed, or presented to God. In this manner the person may be said to become a member of the great High Priest's Body. Christ imputes to him a sufficiency of merit to compensate for his demerit; and having been made acceptable to the Father by this imputation, he becomes a member of the Body of the great High Priest.
There is a difference between offering our sacrifice and presenting ourselves. Not we, but the High Priest accepts one as a member of His Body, He imputes to that one a sufficiency of His merit to give him life-rights. By virtue of being reckoned perfect, one has life-rights, a condition which permits him to be a sacrifice.
There was just one moment when the knife in the hand of the high priest smote and slew the bullock. That moment represented the moment when our Lord, at Jordan, became dead as a man and alive as a New Creature, when "He, through the eternal Spirit, offered up Himself without spot to God." But it was not as a New Creature that He offered up Himself, but as the man Christ Jesus. His spotless humanity was what He there offered. This He did through the eternal Spirit of Sonship and loyalty to God; and this was the opportune moment, the moment foretold in prophecy. Then He was acknowledged a Priest. If Christ were on earth, on the earthly plane, He could not be a priest according to the flesh, not being of the family of Aaron. The only Order of Priesthood, therefore, to which He belonged was a spiritual Order, the one mentioned in the Scripture which says: "Thou art a Priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek." (Psa. 110:4.) He was not a Priest according to the flesh, but as a New Creature.
The High Priest came into his office by virtue of his work of sacrifice. The bringing of the bullock into the Court meant its presentation for sacrificial purposes. So with Jesus. When He came to John at Jordan, He made a surrender of Himself. This the Father acknowledged. The disciples of the Lord presented themselves, but they were neither accepted as sacrifices nor begotten of the Spirit, until Pentecost. On that day, while they were waiting, God accepted the sacrifice, and made them priests at that moment.
Answer.—When we say that our Lord imputes His righteousness, we are not to think that He gives His own righteousness as the High Priest, but that He imputes the merit of His human sacrifice on our behalf. When, as the Man Christ Jesus, He laid down His life, without being under sentence of death in any degree, there was a merit in that sacrifice. The early life-rights, which the Lord laid down, were to His credit, giving Him [R4877 : page 351] the power of restitution for the world of mankind, the power for their regeneration. But before the merit of that sacrifice is given to the world, it is made the basis of our justification, for the covering of our imperfections. It could have been used for us in restitution, but such was not God's Plan during this Age. Hence, Jesus' merit is imputed to believers who consecrate, and also covers the blemishes and unwitting trespasses of their imperfect earthen vessels to the end of their course.
Answer.—The righteousness of our Lord was His right-doing, His right conduct, His perfect character while He was the man, while He was on trial. The merit is the Divine appreciation, the Divine estimation of that character, of that right-doing. Since He ceased to be a man, our Lord has, of course, no righteousness as a human being. That righteousness which was His before His consecration and which He maintained, constitutes a merit in the Divine sight, which is imputed to the Church now, and which is to be utilized by Him in the blotting out of the sins of the whole world, shortly. It is a sufficiency of merit; for one man was sentenced to death and, later, another man was passed upon as worthy of life. This merit, therefore, this value of laying down a life not worthy of death, is at His disposal in the Divine arrangement.
Answer.—One Scripture that might be understood so to teach is found in the book of Malachi, which says that when the Lord shall come into His Temple, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and He shall purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness."—Mal. 3:3.
Some might apply this Scripture to the sons of Levi in a literal way. But we think that it is antitypical, that the Church constitutes the Levitical system and that these are the spiritual Levites whom the Purifier will make ready, that they may offer unto God an acceptable sacrifice, as antitypical Levites and a Royal Priesthood.