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The Sin - Offering.
LITTLE CHILDREN, THESE THINGS WRITE I UNTO YOU, THAT YE ŜIN NOT. AND IF ANY MAN SIN, WE HAVE AN ADVOCATE WITH THE FATHER, JESUS CHRIST THE RIGHTEOUS; AND HE IS THE PROPITIATION FOR OUR SINS: AND NOT FOR OURS ONLY, BUT ALSO FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD."-1 John ii. 1, 2.
WERE a scorpion on our brow, prepared to thrust in its deadly sting, while we were unconscious of any danger, surely the friend would deserve our thanks who saw the black scorpion there, and cried aloud to us to sweep it off. Such is a sin of ignorance; and God, who is "a God of knowledge,” is the gracious friend. In this character he appears
Vers. 1, 2. " And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the
children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the Lord, concerning things
which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them.” The former chapters of this Book have been in substance like the first chapter of John's first Epistle. We have been shown in type that life eternal which was manifested to us in Christ, the great Atonement. Next, we were shown that the Lord had a claim on all that is ours, and therefore must we give up ourselves and all that is ours to him. This done, we walk in fellow. ship with him.
These things have been written to us, in the first three chapters, to the end “that we sin not”—that we may not live like the dark world around us, but may be drawn to him who draws us with his cords of love—the Lord now speaks again to “ the children of Israel”-his "little children.” He points out what is to be done when they come to the knowledge of sin, of which they were not aware before. The cases are understood to be things committed, not mere omissions of duty; and how saddening to find that we grieve the Lord in so many
We have a heart as prone to sin as the body is to weariness.
The sin through ignorance (n) is the same that David prays against in Psalm xix. 12, “ Who can understand his errors (nix)? cleanse thou me from secret things!" These are not sins of omission, but acts committed by a person when at the time he did not suppose that what he did was sin.* Although he did the thing deliberately, yet he did not perceive the sin of it. So deceitful is sin, we may be committing that abominable thing which cast angels into an immediate and an eternal hell, and yet at the moment be totally unaware! Want of knowledge of the truth and too little tenderness of conscience hide it from us. Hardness of heart and a corrupt nature cause us to sin unperceived. But here again the form of the Son of man appears! Jehovah, God of Israel, institutes sacrifice for sins of ignorance, and thereby discovers the same compassionate and considerate heart that appears in our High Priest, “who can have compassion on THE IGNORANT !” (Heb. v. 2.) Amidst the types of this Tabernacle we recognize the presence of Jesus—it is his voice that shakes the curtains and speaks in the ear of Moses, " If a soul should sin through ignorance !” The same yesterday, to-day, and forever!
* Josh. xx. 3, “Who killeth any person in ignorance (1797 wa) and did not know," i. e., did not know that his action would have had that effect. Comp. Deut. xix. 4.
THE PRIEST'S SIN.
Vers. 3, 4. “If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin
of the people; then let him bring, for his sin which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the Lord for a sin-offering. And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord; and shall lay his hand upon the bullock's head, and kill the bullock before the Lord.”
The anointed priest must mean the High Priest, for he only was anointed. In ver. 5, the Septuagint have so understood it, for they give “ lepeus d Xploros d 1818h6wuevos.” Now, the first case is that of the anointed priest sinning “ The law maketh men high priests that have infirmity.” (Heb. vii. 28.) This sin the priest may have committed in his public services, in the execution of his office. Being invested with office, his sins are peculiarly aggravated, and peculiarly dangerous—their effect upon others may be incalculable. The words, "according to the sin of the people" (DIT neux) are more properly rendered, “ so as to cause the people to sin,”-he sins to the sinning of the people. (Toù tov haov duapisiv. Septuag. “Delinquere faciens populum.” Vulg.) The Old Testament ministry involved awful responsibilities, as well as the New. The personal holiness of the priest is provided for by this consideration, that if he, because of deficient wisdom, or because he had not faithfully sought help from the sanctuary, were guilty of some mistake in the service, or polluted some of the holy vessels, his sin would injure thousands of souls. It might destroy the comfort of thousands; it might misrepresent the way of acceptance to thousands, and thereby ruin their souls. It left the sanctuary-door open to Satan. And, on the other hand, in such circumstances, surely the people would learn to pray for the ministering priest, and to feel that, after all, he was no more than an instrument used by God for their sakes. There seems thus to have been, in all ages, the flow of the same sympathies through Christ's body, the Church. The Church has been ever “compacted by that which every joint supplieth.” But let us proceed.
Hitherto we have seen atonement made by sacrifice, but now we are to see imputation of sin. Atonement is effected by imputation of sin to another. The priest's sin is to be brought to the altar. He is to bring “a bullock.” This is the very same kind of offering as when the whole congregation sin. As the most bulky and most expensive form of sacrifice was the bullock, the priest must take this form of sacrifice, in order to make more obvious to the
eye his concern for his sin. He spares no cost in bringing his sin to the altar; and the people learn from him to spare no cost in bringing their sins to the atoning blood.
The type, applied to our surety, may be this—that when Christ, our Anointed Priest, took upon him our sin as his own, he had to offer exactly what we should have had to do ourselves, had we been reckoned with in our own persons. If there be sin found upon the priest, then his offering must be no less than the whole congregation's.
Vers. 5, 6. " And the priest that is anointed shall take of the bullock's
blood, and bring it to the tabernacle of the congregation; And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood
seven times before the Lord, before the veil of the sanctuary.” The "seven times" throughout all Scripture, intimates a perfect and complete action.* The blood is to be thoroughly exhibited before the Lord-life openly ex. hibited as taken to honor the law that had been violated. It is not, at this time, taken within the veil, for that would require the priest to enter the Holy of Holies—a thing permitted only once a year.
But it is taken very near the mercy-seat-it is taken before the "veil," while the Lord that dwelt between the Cherubim bent down to listen to the cry that came up from the sin-atoning blood.
Was the blood sprinkled on the veil? Some say not, but only on the floor close to the veil. The floor of the Holy Place was died in blood; a threshold of blood was formed, over which the high priest must pass on the day of atonement, when he entered into the Most Holy, drawing aside the veil. It is blood that opens our way into the presence of God; it is the voice of atoning blood that prevails with him who dwells within. Others, how- . ever, with more probability, think the blood was sprinkled on the veil.t It might intimate that atonement was yet to rend that veil. And, as that beautiful veil represented the Saviour's holy humanity (Heb. x. 20), oh, how
* The “ seven times” of some passages, and the “ once" of others (Heb. x. 10; 1 Pet. iii. 18), intimate the same thing, viz., so completely done that no more is needed. It is the one action in seven parts, for the satisfaction of all who see it done. And so the" One Spirit," and the “ Seven Spirits.” The Pythagoreans learnt from the Hebrews to account this number very important in religious acts.
| The Hebrew is doubtful; nan yong is put at the close of the sentence. Most probably it is so put, in order to define what "before the Lord,” meant. The Septuagint is “ κατα το καταπετασμα.” But Aben Ezra has non 38 57,“ he shall sprinkle on the veil.”