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ANOTHER TYPE OF THE ATONEMENT
Atonement Sacrifices Restated with Varying Details—Moses and Aaron Entered the Tabernacle, and Came Out Again and Blessed the People—"Unto Them that Look for Him Shall He Appear"—"And After Death the Judgment"—Divine Acceptance of the Atonement Sacrifice Manifested.
IN THIS chapter we have a more condensed picture of the work and sacrifices of Atonement than the one already examined (Lev. 16), and, in addition, it furnishes certain features which, in the light of the foregoing, will be of interest as well as profit to us. It is another picture of the Atonement sacrifices.
"And Moses said, 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 burnt-offering and make an atonement for thyself [those to be called to be members of "his Body" required it] and for the people [the world]."
This type illustrated the fact that our Lord Jesus (the bullock sacrifice for sins) was sufficient to redeem both "his Body," the "little flock," and also the whole world of mankind. The Church's share in the sin-offering could have [T80] been dispensed with entirely: we might have been spared the special trials of our "narrow way," spared the sacrificial sufferings, and could have been 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 "the Church which is his Body," and that these, as well as their Captain, should be made perfect as SPIRITUAL beings, by sufferings in the flesh as sin-offerings. Heb. 2:10; Col. 1:24
The Apostle Paul, referring to our intimate relationship to our Head says: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath 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 Thess. 2:14), so that "if we suffer with him we shall also reign with him." 2 Tim. 2:12
The High Priest, after offering his own sacrifice, 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 command or original plan, as St. Paul attests. Col. 1:24-26
"Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the calf [Heb., young bullock] of the sin-offering, which was for [instead of or 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 altar; but the fat [etc.]...he burnt upon the altar,...and 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, [T81] 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 upon the altar, with the pieces thereof at the head." (Much the same account as in chapter 16, and having the same significance.)
Thus the burnt-offering of Jesus has been burning all through the Gospel age, giving evidence to all in the "Court" condition (the justified), of God's acceptance of him, and the acceptance of all the members of "his 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, like the former] 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 a further confirmation of the teaching that those who follow in 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, represented a vow or covenant. Made in connection with the sin-offering of the High Priest, it signified the vows, obligations and covenants assumed by the Priest, based on the sin-offering. In the type the peace was established between Jehovah and Israel as follows: 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 [T82] former Adamic sin was typically removed; and they were obligated then to 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 the sin-offering and peace-offerings." Here we see illustrated in the type 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. And how true is this to the facts: wherever the royal Priests are, a blessing more or less pronounced flows from these to their neighbors.
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 Justice against the people (the world). It will be noticed that while the type of Leviticus 16 divided the work of the Atonement Day, and showed all the particulars of how the Lord's sacrifice first [T83] makes ours worthy of acceptance, etc., this type showed the entire work of the Gospel age as successive offerings, yet joined really in one—all the sufferings of the entire Christ, followed at once by restitution blessings. The going of Moses into the Tabernacle with Aaron 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 those who were under the Law—Israel after the flesh—that all condemned under it were also justified to life through the sacrifices of the Priest who "offered up himself" once for all.
When presented, the entire sacrifice was "holy, acceptable to God," this being evidenced by the fact that Moses and Aaron did not die at the threshold of the Most Holy. And Moses and Aaron came out and together 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 gradually restoring man to human perfection, in which condition he 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 it, the Law—obey and live—"He that doeth righteousness is righteous," will be a great blessing; for whosoever will may then obey and live forever in happiness and communion with Jehovah.
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, [T84] of 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, 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 glorious garments, the royal, divine authority and power thus to set them free. Rom. 8:19-22
It is doubtless this same blessing of all the people—salvation from death and its sting, sin—that Paul refers to, saying: "UNTO THEM THAT LOOK FOR HIM SHALL HE APPEAR THE SECOND TIME WITHOUT SIN [not again as a sin-offering, and without 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 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 has 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 [T85] 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 a flesh-being, 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" will 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; 12:2) Thus, with the eyes of their understanding, the "Watchers" discern the second presence of the Lord in its due time, by the light of the divine Word. And later on the world, every eye, shall see him in similar manner, but by the light of the "flaming fire" of his judgments. 2 Thess. 1:8
This is the only way in which human beings 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 also be acquainted with the Father 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." (John 8:19; 14:7) This is the only sense in which the world will [T86] 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 [revealed—shown] him." (1 Tim. 6:16; John 1:18) Jesus revealed or caused his disciples to see the Father by making known his character—revealing him by words and deeds as the God of Love.
In the same way the Papal system was shown by Luther and others, and seen by many, to be the Antichrist; or as Paul had foretold, that wicked system, the man of sin, was then revealed, though many do not even yet see it thus.
Thus it is that our Lord Jesus, the Head (now present to gather the jewels), is at this time being revealed to the living members of the "little flock," though others know not of his presence. Luke 17:26-30; Mal. 3:17
Thus it will also 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 will see him. They will see him, not by physical sight, but as we now see all spiritual things—our Lord Jesus, the Father, the prize, etc.—by the eye of faith. Men will not see the Christ by physical sight, because on a different plane of being—the one spirit, the other flesh; for the same reason that they will never see Jehovah. But we [the little flock, when glorified] shall see him as he is, for we shall be like him. 1 John 3:2
But, though only "those who look for him" will 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 [T87] not] God, and [also on those] that obey not the gospel of Christ." It will not take long for all mankind to recognize him under such circumstances. Now the good suffer, but then shall ye discern "between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not"; for in that day the distinction will be manifested. (Mal. 3:15-18) Then all, seeing clearly, may, by accepting Christ and his offer of life under the New Covenant, 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
A text directly connected with our subject, as is evident from its context, yet one more frequently misapplied, misunderstood, than perhaps any other in the Bible, reads, "And as it is appointed unto men [Aaron and his successors, who were merely 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, approving or disapproving of the sacrifice], so Christ 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 [neither blemished by the sins borne, nor to repeat the sin-offering, but] unto salvation"—to give the everlasting life to all who desire it upon God's conditions of faith and obedience. Heb. 9:27,28
Each 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 Veil." He would not have been accepted into the "Most Holy" himself, nor would his imperfect sacrifice have been acceptable as an atonement for the sins of the [T88] people. Hence any failure meant his death, and the condemnation of all for whose sins he attempted to make reconciliation. This was the "judgment" mentioned in this text, which was passed every year by the typical priests; upon the passing of that judgment favorably the priest's life and the yearly typical atonement for the sins of the people depended.
Our great High Priest, Christ Jesus, passed under the antitypical Second Veil, when he died at Calvary; and had his sacrifice been in any manner or degree imperfect he would never have been raised out of death—the "judgment" of justice would have gone against him. But his resurrection, on the third day, proved that his work was perfectly performed, that it stood the test of the divine "judgment." See Acts 17:31.
A further evidence that our Lord passed this "judgment" successfully, once for all, and that his sacrifice was accepted, was evidenced in the blessing at Pentecost; and that was a foretaste of the still greater future blessing and outpouring upon all flesh (Joel 2:28), a guarantee or assurance that ultimately he (and we in him) shall 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 death and evil in general, but they have not understood the long delay. They do not realize that the sacrifice of the "Day of Atonement" is necessary and must be finished before the glory and blessing can come: nor do they see that the Church, the "elect," the "little flock," are [T89] associates in the sacrifice of the Christ, and his sufferings, as they shall also be in the glory that shall follow. "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, waiting [though in ignorance] for the manifestation of [the Church] the sons of God." Rom. 8:19,22
Moreover, since the typical Priest represented the "body" as well as the "head" of the antitypical Priest, the Christ, it follows that each member of the Church must pass this "judgment"—that although many have been called none will be chosen as finally acceptable "members" of the Christ Body, branches of the true Vine, except as they shall be "overcomers"—faithful unto death. (Rev. 3:21) Not, however, that such must attain perfection of the flesh, but perfection of heart, of will, of intent: they must be "pure in heart"—the treasure must be of pure gold tried in the furnace, though its present casket be but an imperfect earthen vessel.
"And there came 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"—worshiped. This is the same thought expressed in another form. The fire symbolized God's acceptance; its recognition by the people showed 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.
That this is not yet fulfilled is evident. God has not yet manifested his acceptance of the great Atonement Day sacrifice, by fire; the people have not yet shouted and fallen on their faces in worship of the Great King and his representative. [T90] No, the world still lieth in wickedness (1 John 5:19); the god of this world still blinds more or less nearly all mankind (2 Cor. 4:4); darkness still covers the earth—gross darkness the people. (Isa. 60:2) Nor need we look for the great restitution blessings prefigured in this type until all the members of the Church, the "Body" of the great High Priest, shall have first gone beyond the Second Veil (actual death), into the Most Holy, by resurrection change. Nor will this "blessing" of the type be fulfilled until after the great time of trouble. Then, chastened, sobered, humbled, the world of mankind will very generally be "waiting for" and "looking for" the great Christ, the Seed of Abraham, to bless them and lift them up.
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 came under sentence of death in Adam; and the little spark of life which any man now possesses is really but one stage of dying. It is a dead race now because of the sin of Adam; but at the close of this antitypical "Day of Atonement" the blessings of justification and life will be extended to all, upon conditions which all will be able to obey, and whosoever will may have again, from the life-giver, Redeemer, all that he lost in Adam—life, liberty, favor of God, etc.—those who have gone all the way down into death, as well as those who still linger on the brink—"in the valley of the shadow of death."
This is the object of the antitypical sin-offerings: to release [T91] "all the people," all mankind, from the dominion of sin, death: to 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 is to come 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., one of the blessing class, the Seed of Abraham, who shall bless all the families of the earth. (Gal. 3:8,16,29) But this "Seed" must be completed before the blessing comes, as shown in the type just considered: the sin-offering must be ended before all the blessings resulting there from can flow out.
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 inquired of Jehovah for Israel's welfare, etc., using the breastplate of judgment, the Urim and Thummim. Again, whenever they broke camp, which was often, the priests went in and took down the "veils" and wrapped up the Ark and all the holy vessels, before the Levites were permitted to carry them. Num. 4:5-16
Again, whenever an Israelite offered a sin-offering unto the priests (after the "Day of Atonement" sacrifices were [T92] 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" will be in the "Most Holy" or perfect spiritual condition, and there will accept (eat) the sacrifices for sin, brought by the world for their own transgressions (not for original or Adamic sin, which was canceled on the "Day of Atonement"). In that perfect spiritual condition, the priesthood will instruct in every matter, as represented in the decisions and answers given to Israel by the Urim and Thummim.