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that account more fitted to be the usual type of Christ's offering. It was both public and definite.
The trespass-offering was always a ram. It was thus fitted to remind Israel of Abraham's offering Isaac, when the ram was substituted. The blood of it was always put “on the sides” of the altar; not on the horns, as in the case of the sin-offering, where the offering was more of a public nature, and needed to be held up to all.
The cases here are
1. Fraud towards God in respect to things in his worship.
2. Fraud towards man. The instances given are specimens of wrong done by the trespasser to the first and second tables of the law.
Perhaps it was too much for a frail mortal to hear the Lord speak long. There was a short interval between the last revelation of the will of the Lord, and this that followed it. Silence reigned through the holy place; and under the beams of the bright cloud of glory, Moses would sit down, and trace on his tablets the directions just received. And now the voice of the Lord spoke again—the same voice that afterwards said to John in Patmos, “ Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” It then declared of each Church of Asia, “I know thy works.” It is the voice of the same holy and jealous, yet gracious and tender Priest, the same true and faithful Witness. The voice said:
Ver. 15. “If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the
holy things of the Lord; then he shall bring, for his trespass unto the Lord, a ram without blemish out of the flocks, with thy estimation by shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass-offering."
That we may see the sort of sins meant here, let us refer to a special case. The class of sins here is transgressions in regard to the holy things of the Lord. Now, in Ecclesiastes v. 6, we have such a case. 66 Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error (habe as here) : wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands ?” The wish to be spoken well of, and to become eminent for piety in the eyes of the people and priest, led this man, while attending public worship in the temple, to vow with his lips more than he could, or more than he really wished to give. By this rash vow, he came under the sin mentioned in this chap
4. But this is not all. When the priest* comes (see 1 Sam. ii. 13) to take his share of the offering according to the law, the man was tempted to deny that he had vowed so much. And thus he fell into the sin of trespass, mentioned in v. 15 of this chapter, inasmuch as he withholds what he promised to the house of God. God will destroy his prosperity, unless such a man forthwith bring the trespass-offering. Similar cases might be given; thus, if a man eat the first-fruits (Exodus xxxiv. 26), or shear the first-born sheep. (Deut. xv. 19.) (Ainsworth.) He is to bring "a ram without blemish out of the flock.” He is to choose one of the most valuable of his flock, a type of him who was chosen out of the people,” “one that was mighty.” (Psalm lxxxix. 19.) It was to be costly; it must not be of an inferior sort, but (Deut. xxxii. 14) of that sort which were
* The angel or messenger seems to be the priest himself. So he is called in Malachi ii. 7. And if so, is it not with a reference to the jealous angel in Exodus xxxii. 34 ? The priest is his representative, presiding over the temple.
the breed of Bashan.” The priest is to estimate the value according to the standard of the sanctuary. Probably we are hereby taught the costliness of the Redeemer's offering.
Consider the estimation. It was not every offering that will answer the great end; it must be a costly, precious offering—the precious blood of the Son of God. (2 Pet. i. 19.) Who can tell how high it was estimated in the sanctuary above, where not one spot of sin ever found a rest in the most secret heart of one ministering spirit? The question is asked, Is this one offering sufficient for the sinner? The Holy One applies the test of his law, and measures it by his own holy nature, and finds it such that he declares, “I am well pleased;" “ I lay in Zion a tried stone;" “ He hath magnified the law, and made it honorable."
But, 2. Was it such as reached the case of others ? Yes; it was meant for others. He who wrought it out was a surety. His body was “prepared" for the sake of others. His eye ran down with tears for others. The words, such as never man spake, were for others. suffered, the just for the unjust.”
3. But may I use it? Yes; not only you may, but you must use it or perish.
Ver. 16. “And he shall make amends for the harm that he hath done in
the holy thing, and shall add the fifth part thereto, and give it unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass-offering, and it shall be forgiven him."
The trespasser is to be no gainer by defrauding God's house. He is to suffer, even in temporal things, as a punishment for his sin. He is to bring, in addition to the thing of which he defrauded God, money to the extent of one fifth of the value of the thing. This was given to the priest as the head of the people in things of God, and representative of God in holy duties. It was to be a double tithe because of the attempt to defraud God.* We shall never be gainers by stinting our time and service in the worship of God. What we withdraw from him, he will withdraw from us in another way. Besides, the very fact of cherishing such an idea in our minds will cause the Lord to veil his grace and glory from our view until we have anew sought him by the blood of Jesus. And in the mean time the sorrow and darkness of our heart will teach us that it is a bitter thing to depart from the Lord.
But there is something in this part of the ordinance far more significant still. It seems to exhibit the requirements of God in order to a true atonement. Atonement must consist
1. Of restitution of the principle-restoring all that was lost. The injury done is to be made up by the person submitting to give back every item he took away.
2. Of the addition of more. There must be also a making up of the wrong done, by the person suffering loss, as a recompense for the evil. In these two provisions, do we not see set forth in symbol the great fact that God in atonement must get back all the honor that his law lost for a time by man's fraud ; and also must have the honor of his law farther vindicated by the payment of an amount of suffering ? The active obedience of Christ gave the one; his passive obedience provided the other.
* The tithe regularly paid was an acknowledgment that God had a right to the things tithed; and this double tithe was an acknowledgment that in consequence of this attempt to defraud him, his right must be doubly admitted.
These principles being thus set forth and agreed to, the
was brought forward wherein was exhibited the person that was to be the giver of atonement. A ram 6 out of the flock," even as Christ was “one chosen out of the people.” (Ps. Ixxxix. 19.)
Ver. 17. “ And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are
forbidden to be done by the commandments of the Lord : though
he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity.” This is a remarkable passage in proof of the awful sin that may be committed through ignorance, “ Though he wist it not, yet is he guilty." Knowledge was within his reach in this case; for the things spoken of are matters connected with sanctuary worship. It is even such a case as Pauls, whose ignorance was no excuse for his sin, since he might have inquired and known.*
The cases referred to here are evidently those wherein holy things, or things connected with worship, were neglected or defectively performed. It is that class of cases wherein—it may be through ignorance—the Lord was defrauded of what was due in his worship.
Vers. 18, 19. “ And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the
flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass-offering, unto the priest; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and wist it not, and it shall be forgiven him. It is a trespass-offering: he hath certainly trespassed against the Lord."
How emphatic is the rehearsal of his sin, " atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and
* Evidently in 1 Tim. i. 13, we are to read thus, “ Putting me into the ministry, who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious, though I obtained mercy. For I did all this ignorantly in unbelief,” q. d., for my ignorance and unbelief (both equally inexcusable) led me to these