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We have here Gabriel's message regarding Messiah's work for men. In the course of seventy weeks, 1. The transgression shall be restrained. " The law entered that the offence (10 napanoua, sugn) might abound" (Rom. v. 20); but no sooner is the Saviour come, than, lo! the offence is no longer overflowing. Grace has the opposite effect from law; it restrains sin. 6 Sin shall not have dominion over you ; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Rom. vi. 14.) And the grace that brought salvation, flowing from the Saviour, Messiah, was soon felt to be thus powerful; “Teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.” (Titus ii. 12.) 2. The seal shall be put on the sin-offerings. The article is prefixed to mixnn, as if to make it plain that it was “sin-offerings.” The sealing is in the sense of giving them sanction—showing that they were proper views of man's sin and God's justice. This Jesus did by fulfilling the whole of their typical meaning, being made sin for us, and consumed to ashes without the camp, on Calvary. Thus he “set to his seal” (topgayoev) that these were true representations of God's holy law and man's sin. (John iii. 33, and Rom. iv. 11.) Then, 3. The atonement for iniquity shall be actually brought. Hitherto it had all been done in type; but the Saviour, by his one suffering and obedience, presents the reality to God and to man. He actually does what the ceremonies of the law pledged should be done. 4. Everlasting righteousness shall be brought in. The Saviour brought us a real righteousness, as real as was the imputation of our sins to him. It was no more a ceremonial purification only, or a cleansing from defilement, which lasted only for a season, and was lost by the next touch of pollution; He gives an everlasting righteousness—"eternal redemption.” 5. The seal shall be put on vision and prophet. Whatever prophets have uttered, or seen in vision, concerning Messiah, was now all fulfilled by Jesus. Thus the seal of truth was stamped on them all, and they were set apart as attested and verified. 6. The Most Holy One shall be actually anointed ; i. e., inaugurated into his office as Redeemer, by actually being born in our nature, and anointed with the Holy Ghost from the moment of his birth. In other words, he that is to accomplish all those blessings shall appear, viz., he that is the true High Priest, “Holy of Holies," on whom God's anointing oil shall be poured, even “the Spirit without measure."
The only doubtful clause here seems to be the last. Many apply “Most Holy” to the sanctuary, whereas we here apply it to Messiah, as the antitype of the high priest. Is the high priest, then, ever called 0-777, 275 ? Yes; in 1 Chron xxiii. 13. Let any one who understands Hebrew read that verse, and say if it ought not to be there rendered, “And Aaron was separated, setting him apart as holy of holies (077, 7), himself and his sons forever, to offer incense.” And in a Jewish song, chanted by Joseph Wolff, and which he heard Jews sing in their own tongue, Messiah is celebrated not only thus
“ The King, our Messiah, shall come,
The Blessed of the Blessed is He;"
but also he is celebrated, as in Daniel
“ The King, our Messiah, shall come,
The Holy of Holies is He.”
Oh, glorious Messiah! True High Priest! Thou art all that the prophets said of thee! Thou givest us everlasting righteousness and real atonement! Thou satisfiedst every claim made by justice, whose payment was pledged by sacrifice ! Thou alone hast stayed the torrent of sin! Soon wilt thou again appear “ without sin unto salvation,” and present to the Father a Church“ without spot, or blemish, or any such thing !"
Remembrancers of the Broken Law.
THE CLEAN AND THE UNCLEAN.
SIN IS THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW."-1 John iü. 4.
Ver. 1. “And the Lord spake unto Moses, and to Aaron, saying unto
HITHERTO atonement has been the theme. A fallen world should relish that truth more than any. God shows himself willing to save, by thus fully setting atonement before us. And were he to do no more, the blame of being unsaved would all rest on man.
But now, as if it were to “compel men to come in," he opens up the state of sinfulness in which this world lies. The Lord wishes to make the sinner flee to the Atonement, by creating in his mind a loathing of sin that so pollutes and defiles. For this end, he lays down instructions of a peculiar kind, containing distinctions that would every day need to be attended to. He first so arranges the beasts they were to eat, and those they were not to eat, that an Israelite would every day meet an object that called forth his discrimination between clean and unclean. Thus they were to be taught God's discernment of sin, and the stigma he had set upon it. Though there was nothing morally different between one beast and another, yet if God put his difference between them, they must so regard them; and it was thus that every beast became to them a remembrancer of the law, calling upon them to distinguish between what was right and what was wrong—what was permitted and what was forbidden. The Lord thus set up so many fingerposts that pointed Israel to the Fall, and reminded them that they were in a fallen world.
This chapter begins the subject of sin—its existence in the world all around us. Then, chapter xii. teaches the transmission of sin; chapters xiii. and xiv., the vileness of sin, and the mode of putting away its loathsomeness; and, lastly, chapter xv., original sin in all its deformity. The Holy Spirit would shut up the world to righteousness through the blood of Jesus shed for the most guilty. The first fifteen chapters of this book treat of sin and its atonement.
Ver. 2. “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which
all the beasts that are on the earth."
Some have suggested* that the object of these regulations might be to restrain the appetite, and might be given after the murmuring for quails recorded in Num. bers, chap. xi. In this view, that incident would be considered as suggesting these rules, in the same manner as Nadab and Abihu's sin, in last chapter, suggested the restriction about the priests taking no wine before going into the sanctuary. But this seems a very ungrounded supposition; for the distinction of clean and unclean existed in Noah's days.
* E. g., Townsend.