I will appear in the cloudI. THE CLOUDY DISPENSATIONS. By a cloud I understand a density approaching to darkness and gloom; and yet that very density and darkness inhabited by the glory of God. If the glory of God were to burst upon us without a cloud, it would be nothing less than a consuming fire. The Church of God has to pass through dispensations that are cloudy in her public capacity, in God's providential dealings with her individual members. Look, for instance, at the Church of God as a body at the present time. Is she not beclouded? Are there not clouds of ignorance, superstition, idolatry, despotic power — clouds of carnal wickedness under the name of Christianity, overspreading Zion? The cloud is still more dense when it overwhelms the soul, as it regards its conflicts when darkness overspreads the mind, and the poor believer cannot pray, cannot sing, nor cannot believe.
II. THE APPEARANCE THAT IS PROMISED. "I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy-seat." He appears as a wonder-working God; and when in any of the dispensations to which I have referred, the hand of God is seen, how are the souls of God's people filled with awe! "I will appear." Is it the Church that is overwhelmed with a cloud? I will appear for her deliverance, though I may suffer her to pass through fire and through water first. Is it Providence that is mysterious — every hope cut off, all prospects darkened? "I will appear," says Jehovah. Mark the promise — it is positive — "I will appear." The cattle upon a thousand hills are His property; the gold and the silver He declares are all His own; the hearts of kings are in His hands, and He turns them as rivers of water as He pleases. So that He appears working wonders frequently in the world, and those very things which were most threatening appear to be the very things that God was making use of for the real advantage of His people.
III. THE MERCY DISPLAYED. It is the mercy of the Triune Jehovah, the gift of mercy from God the Father — immutable, eternal, covenant mercy — the mercy of God. That mercy is fully and freely displayed in the person of Christ; yea, more, so far as regards our view of it — the mercy of God the Father laid up from everlasting, recorded in the covenant, fixed in decree, is, to a certain extent, concealed from us, until we discover it in the person of Christ. But when we are brought to view Him as the mercy promised, and then mark the display of that mercy in His incarnation, in His obedience, in His merit, in His blood, in His sufferings, in His victories, in His present employment before the throne, why He is all mercy — mercy embodied in the person of the glorious Mediator. And then, if we look at the merciful dealings of God the Holy Ghost with His people, in melting their hearts, making them new creatures, giving them life Divine, perfecting the work He has first commenced in personal experience — why we come to this conclusion that our God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is the God of mercy, a merciful God. Then mark the transcendent glory of this mercy, how it is displayed in the face of misery, and rebellion, and ingratitude, and all our wanderings, and all our wants.
IV. THE EFFECTS WHICH FOLLOW WHEN JEHOVAH COMES DOWN AND APPEARS IN THE MIDST OF THE CLOUD. It is not merely for a momentary interposition, but for a permanent deliverance, and mercies may be expected by all the praying seed of Jacob. Now allow a familiar illustration here. If a benevolent individual, very wealthy, were accustomed to take a seat, as they used to do in olden times, at the gate of the city, or in any other place of public concourse, and to do so for the very purpose of distributing his bounty, would not that gate be crowded? Who would not go there? Even if we did not want pecuniary alms, if honours, jewels were to be distributed by this person, who would not be there? Who would not receive some token of the kindness and favour of such an one? My hearer, is it not grievous that you and I are not oftener at the mercy-seat?
did look, and beheld Jesus as precious to her as ever.
Make an atonement.
I. Now, then, let us come to the text, and note, first, WHAT WAS DONE on that particular day. The text tells us what was done symbolically — "On that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord."
1. The persons themselves were cleansed. If any of them had become unclean so as to be denied communion with God and His people, they were made clean, so that they might go up to the Tabernacle, and mingle with the congregation. All the host were that morning regarded as unclean, and all had to bow their heads in penitent sorrow because of their uncleanness. After the sacrifice and the sending away of the scapegoat the whole congregation was clean and in a condition to rejoice. It is a far simpler thing to remove outward stains than it is to purge the very substance and nature of man; yet this is what was done on the Day of Atonement typically, and this is what our redeeming Lord actually does for us. We are outlaws, and His atonement purges us of outlawry, and makes us citizens; we are lepers, and by His stripes we are so healed as to be received among the clean.
2. Their persons being made clean, they were also purged of all the sins confessed. Sin that is confessed is evidently real sin, and not a mere dream of a morbid conscience. There is a certain mythical cloud of sin which people talk about, and affect to deplore, and yet they have no sense of the solid heinousness of their actual iniquity. Sin confessed with tears, sin which causes the very heart to bleed — killing sin — this is the kind of sin for which Jesus died. Sin which you dare not confess to man, but acknowledge only as you lay your hand upon the Divine sacrifice — such sin the Lord removes from you. The passage is very particular to mention "all sins." "The goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities." This includes every form of stir, of thought, of word, of deed, of pride, of falsehood, of lust, of malice, of blasphemy. This comprehends crimes against man, and offences against God, of peculiar blackness; and it does not exclude sins of inadvertence, or carelessness, or of omission. Transgressions of the body, the intellect, the affections are all blotted out.
3. It seems that the Divine atonement puts away the sin of sin — the essence and heart of sin. Sin has its core, its mortal spot, within each iniquity there seems to lie a something more essentially evil than the act itself: this is the inner hate of the mind. Whatever may be the sin of the soul, or the soul of the sin, atonement has been made for it all. The Lord Jesus has not left upon those for whom He has made atonement a single spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, so far as their justification is concerned. He has not left an iniquity for which they can be condemned before the bar of judgment. "Ye are clean every whit" is His sure verdict, and none can contradict it
4. Not only were all the sins that they had committed put away, but also all their holy things were purged. I do feel so glad that our Lord has atoned for the sins of our holy things. I feel so glad that Jesus has purified our prayers. Many saints spend much time in hearty, earnest cries to God; but even on your knees you sin; and herein is our comfort — that the precious blood has made atonement for the shortcomings of our supplications. We need pardon for our psalms and cleansing for our hymns. Jesus puts away not only our unholy things, but the sins of our holy things also.
5. Once more, on that day all the people were cleansed. This gives great comfort to those of us who love the souls of the multitude. All who believe are justified from all things.
II. Now we notice, in the second place, HOW IT WAS DONE.
1. The atonement was made first of all by sacrifice. We know that the blood of bulls and of goats could never take away sin; but very distinctly do these point to the sufferings of our Redeemer. The woes He bore are the expiation for our guilt.
2. Notice, next, that the atonement was made not only by the blood of sacrifice, but by the presentation of the blood within the veil. With the smoke of incense and a bowl filled with blood Aaron passed into the most Holy Place. Let us never forget that our Lord has gone into the heavenly places with better sacrifices than Aaron could present. His merits are the sweet incense which burns before the throne of the heavenly grace. His death supplies that blood of sprinkling which we find even in heaven.
3. Furthermore, atonement was made effectual by its application to the thing or person cleansed. The atonement was made for the Holy Place: it was sprinkled seven times with blood. The same was done to the altar; the horns thereof were smeared seven times. So to make the atonement effectual between you and God the blood of Jesus must be sprinkled upon you by a lively faith.
4. Further, inasmuch as no one type was sufficient, the Lord set forth the method of the removal of sin, as far as we are concerned, by the scapegoat. One of two goats was chosen to live. It stood before the Lord, and Aaron confessed all the sins of Israel upon its head. A fit man, selected for the purpose, led this goat away into a land not inhabited. What became of it? Why do you ask the question? It is not to edification. You may have seen the famous picture of the scapegoat, representing it as expiring in misery in a desert place. That is all very pretty, and I do not wonder that imagination should picture the poor devoted scapegoat as a sort of cursed thing, left to perish amid accumulated horrors. But please observe that this is all mere groundless fancy. The Scripture is entirely silent as to anything of the kind, and purposely so. All that the type teaches is this: in symbol the scapegoat, has all the sin of the people laid upon it, and when it is led away into the solitary wilderness, it has gone, and the sin with it. We may not follow the scapegoat even in imagination. It is gone where it can never be found, for there is nobody to find it: it is gone into a land not inhabited — into "no man's land," in fact. Stop where the Scripture stops. Sin is carried away into the silent land, the unknown wilderness. The sins of God's people have gone beyond recall. Where to? Do not ask anything about that. If they were sought for they could not be found; they are so gone that they are blotted out. Into oblivion our sins have gone, even as the scapegoat went out of track of mortal man. "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?"
5. Yet the ceremony was not quite finished; for now everybody who had had a hand in it must needs be washed, so that everybody might be clean. Everybody becomes purged; the whole camp is clean right through. No sin remains upon Him on whom the Lord once .laid the iniquities of us all. The great atonement is made, and everything is cleansed, from beginning to end. Christ hath put it all away for ever by the water and the blood which flowed from His riven side. All is purified, and the Lord looks down on a clean camp; and soon He will have them rejoicing before Him, each man in His tabernacle, feasting to the full.
III. In the third place, I ask your attention, for a brief interval, to this special point — WHO DID IT? The answer is, Aaron did it all. Now fix your eye on the great Antitype of Aaron. There was none with our Lord: He trod the winepress alone. He His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree. He alone went to where the thick darkness covered the throne of God, and none stood by to comfort Him. "All the disciples forsook Him, and fled." Worship our Lord as working salvation by His own single arm. Let that truth abide in your hearts — our High Priest alone has made reconciliation.
IV. Lastly, WHAT WERE THE PEOPLE TO DO for whom this atonement was made? There were two things they had to do that day, only I must add that one of them was doing nothing.
1. For the first thing, they had to afflict their souls that day. It was a day of confession of sin. And should not confession be made with sorrowful repentance? To acknowledge sin without grieving over it is to aggravate sin.
2. Not only was it a day of confession, but it was a day of sacrifice. No tender-hearted Israelite could think of that bullock, and ram, and goat dying for him, without saying, "That is what I deserve." When we think of our dying Lord our emotions are mingled: we feel a pleasing grief and a mournful joy as we stand at Calvary.
3. Once more, it was a day of perfect cleansing, and hence, by a strange logic, a day of the affliction of the soul; for, oh 1 when sin is forgiven, when by Divine assurance we know that God has blotted out our sins like a cloud, then it is we mourn over our iniquities. Afflict your soul when you remember what you once were.
4. On the Day of Atonement they were to afflict their souls, and yet they were to rest. Can these things come together — mourning and resting? I never am so truly happy as when a sober sadness tinges my joy. Nothing is more really sweet than the bitterness of repentance" Nothing is more healthful than self-abhorrence, mixed with the grateful love which hides itself in the wounds of Jesus. The purified people were to rest; they were to rest from all servile work. I will never do a hand's turn to save myself by my own merits, works, or feelings. I have done for ever with all interference with my Lord's sole work. They were assuredly to cease from all sinful work. How can the pardoned man continue in sin? We have done with toiling for the devil now. We will no more waste our lives in his service. We are slaves no longer: we quit the hard bondage of Egypt and rest in the Lord. We have also done with selfish work; we now seek first the kingdom of heaven, and look that all other things shall be added unto us by the goodness of our Heavenly Father. Henceforth we find rest by bearing the easy yoke of Christ. We joy to spend and be spent in His beloved service.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. First, THE PERSON WHO WAS TO MAKE THE ATONEMENT. And at the outset we remark that Aaron, the high priest, did it. Inferior priests slaughtered lambs; other priests at other times did almost all the work of the sanctuary; but on this day nothing was done by any one, as a part of the business of the great Day of Atonement, except by the high priest. Old rabbinical traditions tell us that everything on that day was done by him, even the lighting of the candles, and the fires, and the incense, and all the offices that were required, and that, for a fortnight beforehand, he was obliged to go into the Tabernacle to slaughter the bullocks and assist in the work of the priests and Levites, that he might be prepared to do the work which was unusual to him. All the labour was left to him. So Jesus Christ, the High Priest, and He only, works the atonement. There are other priests, for "He hath made us priests and kings unto God." Every Christian is a priest to offer sacrifice of prayer and praise unto God, but none save the High Priest must offer atonement.
1. Then it is interesting to notice, that the high priest on this day was a humbled priest. As Mayer tells us, he wore garments, and glorious ones, on other days, but on this day he wore four humble ones. Jesus Christ, then, when He made atonement, was a humbled priest. He did not make atonement arrayed in all the glories of His ancient throne in heaven. Upon His brow there was no diadem, save the crown of thorns; around Him was cast no purple robe, save that which He wore for a time in mockery; in His hand was no sceptre, save the reed which they thrust in cruel contempt upon Him; He had no sandals of pure gold, neither was He dressed as king; He had none of those splendours about Him which should make Him distinguished among men. Oh! my soul, adore thy Jesus, who when He made atonement, humbled Himself and wrapped around Him a garb of thine inferior clay.
2. In the next place, the high priest who offered the atonement must be a spotless high priest; and because there were none such to be found, Aaron being a sinner himself as well as the people, you will remark that Aaron had to sanctify himself and make an atonement for his own sin before he could go in to make an atonement for the sins of the people. We have a spotless High Priest; we have one who needed no washing, for He had no filth to wash away,
3. Again, the atonement was made by a solitary high priest — alone and unassisted. No other man was to be present, so that the people might be quite certain that everything was done by the high priest alone. God kept that holy circle of Calvary select to Christ, and none of His disciples must go to die there with Him. O glorious High Priest, thou hast done it all alone!
4. Again it was a laborious high priest who did the work on that day. It is astonishing how, after comparative rest, he should be so accustomed to his work as to be able to perform all that he had to do on that day. I have endeavoured to count up how many creatures he had to kill, and I find that there were fifteen beasts which he slaughtered at different times, besides the other offices, which were all left to him. He was ordained priest in Jeshurun, for that day, toiled like a common Levite, worked as laboriously as priest could do, and far more so than on any ordinary day. Just so with our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, what a labour the atonement was to Him! It was a work that all the hands of the universe could not have accomplished; yet He completed it alone.
II. THE MEANS WHEREBY THIS ATONEMENT WAS MADE (see vers. 5, 7-10). The first goat I consider to be the great type of Jesus Christ the Atonement; such I do not consider the scapegoat to be. The first is the type of the means whereby the atonement was made, and we shall keep to that first.
1. Notice that this goat, of course, answered all the pre-requisites of every other thing that was sacrificed; it must be a perfect, unblemished goat of the first year. Even so was our Lord a perfect Man, in the prime and vigour of His manhood.
2. And further, this goat was an eminent type of Christ from the fact that it was taken of the congregation of the children of Israel, as we are told at the fifth verse. The public treasury furnished the goat. So Jesus Christ was, first of all, purchased by the public treasury of the Jewish people before He died. Thirty pieces of silver they had valued Him at — a goodly price; and as they had been accustomed to bring the goat so they brought Him to be offered, not indeed with the intention that He should be their sacrifice, but unwittingly. Indeed, Jesus Christ came out from the midst of the people, and the people brought Him. Strange that it should be so! "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not"; His own led Him forth to slaughter; His own dragged Him before the mercy-seat.
3. Note, again, that though this goat, like the scapegoat, was brought by the people, God's decision was in it still. Mark, it is said, "Aaron shall east lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat." I conceive this mention of lots is to teach that although the Jews brought Jesus Christ of their own will to die, yet, Christ had been appointed to die; and even the very man who sold Him was appointed to it — so saith the Scripture. Christ's death was fore-ordained, and there was not only man's hand in it, but God's.
4. Next, behold the goat that destiny has marked out to make the atonement. Come and see it die. The priest stabs it. Mark it in its agonies; behold it struggling for a moment; observe the blood as it gushes forth. Ye have here your Saviour. See His Father's vengeful sword sheathed in His heart; behold His death agonies; hear His sighs and groans upon the Cross; hark to His shriek, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani," and you have more now to think of than you could have if you only stood to see the death of a goat for your atonement. As the blood of the goat made the atonement typically, so thy Saviour dying for thee made the great atonement for thy sins, and thou mayest go free.
5. But mark, this goat's blood was not only shed for many for the remission of sins as a type of Christ, but that blood was taken within the veil, and there it was sprinkled. So with Jesus' blood, "Sprinkled now with blood the throne."
III. We now come to the EFFECTS.
1. One of the first effects of the death of this goat was the sanctification of the holy things which had been made unholy. Is it not sweet to reflect that our holy things are now really holy?
2. But observe, the second great tact was that their sins were taken away. This was set forth by the scapegoat.
3. One more thought concerning the effects of this great Day of Atonement, and you will observe that it runs throughout the whole of the chapter — entrance within the veil. Only on one day in the year might the high priest enter within the veil, and then it must be for the great purposes of the atonement. Now the atonement is finished, and you may enter within the veil: "Having boldness, therefore, to enter into the holiest, let us come with boldness unto the throne of the heavenly grace." The veil of the Temple is rent by the atonement of Christ, and access to the throne is now ours.
IV. Now we come to notice, in the fourth place, what is OUR PROPER BEHAVIOUR WHEN WE CONSIDER THE DAY OF ATONEMENT. YOU read at ver. 29, "And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls." That is one thing that we ought to do when we remember the atonement. "Law and terrors do but harden," but methinks the thought that Jesus died is enough to make us melt. Then, better still, we are to "do no work at all," as ye find in the same verse (29th). When we consider the atonement, we should rest, and "do no work at all." Rest from your own righteousness; rest from your toilsome duties: rest in Him. "We that believe do enter into rest." As soon as thou seest the atonement finished, say, "It is done, it is done!" Then there was another thing which always happened. When the priest had made the atonement, it was usual for him, after he had washed himself, to come out again in his glorious garments. When the people saw him they attended him to his house with joy, and they offered burnt-offerings of praise on that day: he being thankful that his life was spared, and they being thankful that the atonement was accepted; both of them offering burnt-offerings as a type that they desired now to be "a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God." The atonement is finished; the High Priest is gone within the veil; salvation is now complete. He has laid aside the linen garments, and He stands before you with His breastplate, and His mitre, and His embroidered vest, in all His glory. Hear how He rejoices over us, for He hath redeemed His people, and ransomed them out of the hands of His enemies. Come, let us go home with the High Priest; let us clap our hands with joy, for He liveth; the atonement is accepted, and we are accepted too; the scapegoat is gone, our sins are gone with it. Let us, then, go to our houses with thankfulness, and let us come up to His gates with praise, for He hath loved His people, He hath blessed His children, and given unto us a day of atonement, and a day of acceptance, and a year of jubilee.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. THE DIVINE REDEEMER.
1. His humiliation.
2. His sinlessness.
II. THE DIVINE SACRIFICE.
1. God admits vicarious suffering into His righteous rule.(1) Involuntarily we suffer for one another.(2) The finer instincts of the animal world lead the parent to endure suffering and death to shield and save the young.(3) Voluntarily, man interposes to rescue his brother by his own loss and suffering.(4) In proportion to the spiritual nobility of men we find voluntary vicarious suffering in their hearts and lives.
2. The sacrifice of Christ avails to remove all condemnation.
III. THE HUMAN WORSHIPPER — Our sinning, seeking selves.
1. Without personal participation everything will be as nothing.
2. The spirit in which we must participate is that of penitence and faith.
(W. Clarkson, B. A.)
1. God's character is not changed by sacrifices. He neither regards sin with less hatred, nor loves the sinner more because of these. The Sacrifice of Calvary — compared with which all others are as shadows to the light — was the natural outcome of the Divine nature, rather than the means of changing that nature (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9, 10).
2. These mere sacrifices possessed no intrinsic value. If there were a value in these, it must have been either to Him in whose name they are offered, or to man for whom they were offered. Happily for us the Scriptures settle both points (Isaiah 1:13; Micah 6:6-8; Psalm 40:6; Psalm 51:16, 17). Thus much, therefore, follows: these sacrifices were not transactions of any intrinsic value to God, in themselves considered. Every part of that ceremonial for the childhood age was a Divine lesson, pointing to a greater offering and sacrifice to come. While God accommodated His laws to the perception of childhood, He made use of them to proclaim eternal truths — a fact we shall see illustrated in the lessons of the Day of Atonement. In it we have —
I. II. III. (D. O. Mears.)
II. III. (D. O. Mears.)
III. (D. O. Mears.)
(D. O. Mears.)
I. THERE IS THE VOLUNTARY HUMILIATION OF THE HIGH PRIEST. The Day of Atonement was the high priest's day: he undertook the atoning work, and no man was to venture near the Tabernacle (ver. 17) while he was engaged in it. The first thing required of him was humiliation.
II. THE HIGH PRIEST WAS REQUIRED NEXT TO PERFUME THE AUDIENCE-CHAMBER WITH INCENSE. Prayer is the beginning, middle, and end of the redemptive work. It seems evident from this that we must put away those business-like illustrations of atonement as a hard bargain driven on the one side and paid literally and in full on the other. We must allow a sufficient sphere in our conceptions for the play of intercession and appeal, and remember that while it is a God of justice who is satisfied, He proves Himself in the transaction a God of grace.
III. AFTER THE INCENSE THERE IS BROUGHT IN THE BLOOD, FIRST OF HIS OWN SIN-OFFERING AND THEN OF THE PEOPLE'S. The blood of Jesus Christ is symbolised by both, and the act of sprinkling it before God is also to be attributed to our great High Priest. The law of mediation is that self-sacrifice stimulates the element of mercy in the Judge. And if it be objected that surely God does not require such an expensive stimulant, the reply is, that the self-sacrificing Son and the stimulated Father and Judge are in essence one. The act is consequently a Divine self-sacrifice to stimulate the element of mercy towards man and make it harmonise with justice.
IV. BUT THE HIGH PRIEST WAS EXPECTED NOT ONLY TO SECURE THE PARDON OF SIN, BUT ALSO TO PUT IT AWAY BY THE DISMISSAL OF THE SCAPEGOAT. For the pardon of sin is not all man needs. He requires sin to be put away from him. Now this putting away of sin was beautifully represented in the dismissal of the scapegoat. This second sin-offering, after having the sins of the people heaped upon its head by the priestly confession, is sent away in care of a faithful servant in the wilderness, there to be left in loneliness either to live or die. Here again we have a type of Jesus.
V. THE HIGH PRIEST HAVING THUS DISPOSED OF SIN, RESUMED HIS GLORIOUS GARMENTS AND OFFERED THE BURNT-OFFERINGS FOR HIMSELF AND THE PEOPLE. It is Christ who offers this burnt-offering, and is the Burnt-offering. That is to say, He has offered for men a perfect righteousness, as well as afforded us a perfect example. Our consecration to God is ideally to be a perfect one — but really how imperfect! But Christ is made unto us sanctification; we are complete in Him; we are accepted in the beloved; and we learn and try to live as He lived, holy as He was holy. Moreover, upon the burnt-offering was presented the fat of the sin-offering, the Lord thus emphasising His satisfaction with the atonement, and His acceptance of it.
VI. THE WASHING OF THE THREE MEN OFFICIATING ON THE DAY OF ATONEMENT CONVEYS SURELY THE IDEA OF THE CONTAMINATING POWER OF SIN.
(R. M.,Edgar, M. A.)
I. THE AUTHORITY FOR THE DAY AND ITS MEASURES.
1. Both authorised of God (vers. 1, 2).
2. Both, then, Divinely important.
(1) (2) II. THE TYPICAL MEANING OF THE JEWISH ATONEMENT-DAY. 1. The Divinely stated reason for its appointment (ver. 16). (1) (2) (3) 2. The Divinely appointed measures for its observance. (1) (2) 1. The hatefulness, heinousness, and guiltiness of sin are here shown. 2. God's desire to provide for the removal of its guilt, and the prevention of its consequences, demonstrated. 3. The comprehensiveness of the provision in the atonement. (D. C. Hughes, M. A.)
(2) II. THE TYPICAL MEANING OF THE JEWISH ATONEMENT-DAY. 1. The Divinely stated reason for its appointment (ver. 16). (1) (2) (3) 2. The Divinely appointed measures for its observance. (1) (2) 1. The hatefulness, heinousness, and guiltiness of sin are here shown. 2. God's desire to provide for the removal of its guilt, and the prevention of its consequences, demonstrated. 3. The comprehensiveness of the provision in the atonement. (D. C. Hughes, M. A.)
II. THE TYPICAL MEANING OF THE JEWISH ATONEMENT-DAY.
1. The Divinely stated reason for its appointment (ver. 16).
(1) (2) (3) 2. The Divinely appointed measures for its observance. (1) (2) 1. The hatefulness, heinousness, and guiltiness of sin are here shown. 2. God's desire to provide for the removal of its guilt, and the prevention of its consequences, demonstrated. 3. The comprehensiveness of the provision in the atonement. (D. C. Hughes, M. A.)
2. The Divinely appointed measures for its observance. 1. The hatefulness, heinousness, and guiltiness of sin are here shown. 3. The comprehensiveness of the provision in the atonement. (D. C. Hughes, M. A.)
2. The Divinely appointed measures for its observance.
1. The hatefulness, heinousness, and guiltiness of sin are here shown.
3. The comprehensiveness of the provision in the atonement.
(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)
I. NOTE THE CHIEF SERVICES OF THE DAY OF ATONEMENT.
II. SHOW THAT THE SACRIFICES THEN OFFERED WERE STRICTLY PROPITIATORY. When you consider the two goats as together constituting the sin-offering, you must receive as the only satisfactory account of the transaction that which sets forth the scapegoat as exhibiting the effects of the expiation which was represented by the death of the other. The sins of the people were laid upon the head of the scapegoat, and borne away to the wilderness; but this scapegoat was a part of the sin-offering, and therefore, by combining the parts of the sin. offering, you have before you both the means and the effect: you have the means, the shedding of blood without which there is no remission; you have the effect, the removal of guilt, so that iniquity, though searched for, can nowhere be found. It seems certain that such was the view entertained by the Jews, who were wont to treat the scapegoat as actually an accursed thing. Though not commanded by the law, they used to maltreat the gnat Azazel — for by this name was the scapegoat known — to spit upon him, and pluck off his hair. Thus they acted towards the goat as they acted towards Christ, who, in a truer sense than the Azazel, was "made sin for us." And if further proof were needed of the idea which the Jews themselves attached to the ceremony of the imposition of hands on the head of the victim, it is to be found in the forms of confession which their writers have transmitted as used ordinarily in expiatory sacrifices. It appears, for example, that when an individual presented his own sacrifice, he laid his hands on the head of the offering, saying amongst other things, "Let this victim be my expiation" — words which were universally considered equivalent to an entreaty that evils which ought in justice to have alighted upon the offender might fall upon the sacrifice. And it is every way worthy of note, as marking the traditional idea of the great day of expiation, that the modern Jews, as well as the ancient, hold fast the notion of a strict propitiatory atonement. Where, then, can be the ground for doubting, that by "atonement," in our text, is to be understood what we understand by it in Christian phraseology; that there was effected a real removal of guilt and its consequences from the Jewish transgressor, when on the great and solemn day of expiation, in compliance with a Divine statute an atonement was made for the children of Israel for all their sins once every year?
III. And here we bring you back to the main argument we have all along had in hand — THE INFERRING FROM THE CHARACTER OF THE LEGAL SACRIFICE THAT OF THE CHRISTIAN. If you can once show that the sacrifices of the law typify the sacrifice of Christ, and that the sacrifices of the law were strictly propitiatory, it follows as an irresistible deduction — notwithstanding the cavils of philosophising sects — that the Lamb of God died truly as a Sin-offering, making, by His death, atonement for the world. Indeed, if no reference were made to the Old Testament, the language of the New is so explicit that nothing but the most determined prepossession could fail to find in it the doctrine that Christ's death was a propitiatory sacrifice. But the connection between the two dispensations, and therefore the two Testaments, is so strict in every point, that it were no just examination of the gospel which would keep the law out of sight; therefore we come to examine more definitely the correspondence between the sacrifice of the Saviour and those which have just been reviewed.
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
I. IT WAS TO THE HIGH PRIEST A DAY WHICH IMPOSED NUMEROUS INCONVENIENCES, ANXIETIES, AND HUMILIATIONS. And so was it with our great High Priest when He undertook to expiate the guilt of man. Separated from His heavenly home, He became a suffering, laborious, self-denying servant. No gold glittered upon His brow, or tinkled with His steps, or mingled its glory with royal colours to adorn His robe. No jewelry sparkled on his shoulders or on His breast. No chariots of grandeur bore Him to the place of His mighty deeds of love. And thus amid privations, humiliations, and anxieties which made Him sorrowful even unto death, did He go through with the services of the great day of the world's expiation.
2. It was to the high priest a day which imposed all its services upon him alone. Thus, when Jesus undertook the expiation of the world's guilt, "of the people, there was none with Him." Isaiah says, "I looked, and there was none to help." His "own arm brought salvation." He "His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree."
3. The Day of Atonement was to the high priest also a very oppressive and exhausting day. His duties, in his complete isolation, were really crushing. So laborious and trying was his work that after it was over the people gathered round him with sympathy and congratulation that he was brought through it in safety. But it was only a picture of that still more crushing load which was laid upon our great High Priest when making atonement for the sins of the world. None among all the sons of the mighty could ever have performed the work which He performed, and lived. All His life through there was a weight upon Him so heavy, and ever pressing so mightily upon His soul, that there is no account that He ever smiled. Groans and tears and deep oppression accompanied Him at almost every step. And when we come to view Him in His agonising watchings and prayers in the garden, and under the burdens of insult and wrong which were heaped upon Him in the halls of judgment, and struggling with His load along that dolorous way until the muscles of His frame yielded, and He fell faint upon the ground, and oppressed upon the Cross until His inmost soul uttered itself in cries which startled the heavens and shook the world; we have an exhibition of labour, exhaustion, and distress, at which we may well sit down and gaze, and wonder, and weep, in mere sympathy with a sorrow and bitterness beyond all other sorrow.
II. We come now to LOOK AT THE ATONEMENT ITSELF. Here we find that several kinds of offerings were to be made. The object was to make the picture complete, by bringing out in different offerings what could not all be expressed by one. They were only different phases of the same unity, pointing to the one offering of Jesus "Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God." There is a multiplication of victims, that we may see the amplitude and varied applications of the one great atonement effected by Christ Jesus. The most vital, essential, and remarkable of these atoning services was that relating to the two goats, as provided for in vers. 7-10, 15-17, 21, 22. One of these goats was to be slain as a sin-offering, and the other was to have the sins of Israel laid upon its head, and then to be taken away alive and left in the wilderness. The one typified the atonement of Christ in its means and essence; the other the same atonement in its effects.
III. A word now with REGARD TO THE PEOPLE TO BE BENEFITED BY THE SERVICES Of this remarkable day. That the services and offerings of this day were meant for the entire Jewish nation is very clear and distinct. But not all were therefore reconciled and forgiven. The efficacy of these services, in any given case, depended upon the individual himself. The atonement day was to be a day of contrition, of weeping, of soul-sorrow for sin, of confession, reformation, and return to God, a day of heart-melting and charity. Without these accompaniments its oblations were vain, its incense useless, its solemnities but idle ceremonies. And, as it was with the type, so it is with the Antitype. Would you, then, have Christ's atoning day to be a blessing to thy soul, come to it with a moved and melting heart; come to it with thy spirit bowed for thy many, many sins; come to it as the humbled prodigal came back to the kind father he had wronged; come to it as the poor heart-broken publican came, smiting thy guilty breast and crying, "God be merciful to me a sinner!"
(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)
(F. E. Clark.)
(T. M. Morris.)
(F. E. Clark.)
(H. C. Trumbull.)
(J. Hamilton, D. D.)
Robert Southey, in his "Life of Bunyan," seems at a difficulty to understand how John Bunyan could have used such depreciating language concerning his own character. For it is true, according to all we know of his biography, that he was not, except in the case of profane swearing, at all so bad as most of the villagers. Indeed, there were some virtues in the man which were worthy of all commendation. Southey attributes it to a morbid state of mind, but we rather ascribe it to a return of spiritual health. The great light which shone around Saul of Tarsus brighter than the midday sun, was the outward type of that inner light which flashes into a regenerate soul, and reveals the horrible character of the sin which dwells within. Believe me, when you hear Christians making confessions which seem to you to be unnecessarily abject, it is not that they are worse than others, but that they see themselves in a clearer light than others.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(H. W. Beecher.)
Two kids of the goats for a sin-offering.I. As TO THE GOAT THAT WAS PUT TO DEATH. To die as a sacrifice for human guilt was the great end of Christ's life and mission into our world. Thus was He represented by the goat that was sacrificed. Notice how the figure was still further carried out.
II. IN THE GOAT WHICH WAS KEPT ALIVE.
1. Over the head of this goat the sins of the people were confessed, and on it symbolically laid. Thus Jesus came to be our Surety and Substitute.
2. Iniquities, transgressions, and sins, were confessed, and laid on the scapegoat. Showing us here the extent of Christ's sacrifice for all kinds of guilt, whether arising from neglect of God's commands or the wilful violation of His righteous prohibitions. In the sacrifice of Christ there was an atonement for every kind of sin, and for all grades and classes of sinners.
3. The scapegoat was dismissed into the wilderness with the imputed iniquity of the people upon it. Thus has Jesus truly borne our guilt away. He has obtained for a world of transgressors the offer of pardon. For the polluted race of Adam the means of purity. For condemned and dying sinners the favour of God and the gift of eternal life. Notice —
III. HOW THE BENEFITS OF THE SCAPEGOAT WERE CONFERRED UPON THE PEOPLE. Aaron was to lay both his hands upon the head of the scapegoat, and there confess all the sins of the people. How clearly does this show us the appointed medium by which we enjoy the salvation of Christ.
1. There must be implicit faith or confidence in His person and sacrifice.
2. Faith in Jesus will ever be accompanied by sincere repentance. It will be connected with ingenious confession, deep contrition, entire self-abasement, and self-loathing before God, with earnest forsaking of the paths of impenitence and sin.Application:
1. We see here the connection between sin and death. Sin deserves death, exposes to death; where it is unforgiven it will involve in eternal death. "The soul that sinneth," &c.
2. In Christ's death is the only real sacrifice for sin: "He died for our sins." What a glorious truth! How precious! how momentous!
3. Faith is the only medium of securing to the soul the benefits of that death.
(J. Burns, D. D.)
1. Of the divers lots appointed for men, of some unto life, some unto death.
2. Ministers should have a great care to govern their families.
3. Christ alone sufficient to save us.
4. Remission of sins not procured by any strength in man, but by faith in Christ.
5. Righteousness not by the words of the law, but by faith only in Christ.
(A. Willet, D. D.)
1. Divine secrets not curiously to be searched into.
2. To approach and draw near before God with holiness and reverence.
3. Of the force and efficacy of prayer.
4. Of the profit and fruit of fasting.
5. Remission of sins only granted to the penitent.
6. Evil thoughts and lusts to be cast away.
(A. Willet, D. D.)
(F. E. Clark.)
azazel; and that name was applied to the fallen spirit by the Jews. And therefore Faber thinks it was one goat for a sacrifice — to denote Christ's atonement; the other goat let loose to Satan, or sent away to Satan — to represent the Saviour given up into the hands of the wicked one to be tempted for a season. The second interpretation is by Bush, the American commentator, a man of great sagacity and talent; and he thinks that the one goat that was slain as a sacrifice represented Christ's atonement for us, but that the other goat represented the Jewish races let loose, bearing the fearful responsibility of having trodden under foot the precious blood of Christ, and crucified the Son of God, and stained their name and their nation with the infamy of that crime; and that they, a blasted race, driven into the desert, were represented by the scapegoat that was here let go. And he thinks on the same ground, that when the lots were cast, and Jesus was condemned and Barabbas was let go, that that was the carrying out of the same great symbol — Barabbas, the representative of the Jews, let go, but branded with an inexpiable crime; and Jesus, the Great Atonement. sacrificed for the sins of all that believe. These criticisms, however, are more plausible than true. I do think the old-fashioned interpretation is the just one, and there is no valid reason for superseding it: that the one goat sacrificed on the altar was the symbol of Christ our Saviour or Atonement sacrificed for us; and that the other goat let loose into the desert was the symbol and representation to the children of Israel of Jesus rising from the dead, bearing the sins that He had exhausted, entering into heaven, and there ever living to make intercession for us. I know there are difficulties even in accepting the last of these; but those difficulties, if they do not completely vanish, are much diluted when you notice the accompaniments or the rites by which this goat was let loose into the wilderness: that the priest was to lay his hands upon the head of the scapegoat — the one that was presented alive; over it he was to confess all the sins of the children of Israel, and then this scapegoat was let loose with the sins of Israel upon its head. Now, the very phraseology that is applied to the scapegoat is applied to Jesus: "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away" — that carrieth away "the sins of the world." And I cannot conceive a more beautiful type of Christ our Saviour, or a more expressive exhibition of the mode in which we become interested in Him than that of the high priest laying his hand upon his head, transferring the sins of Israel to it, dismissing it, and the sins blotted out, no more remembered, carried into a desert, passed away from the reminiscences of Israel and of God for ever.
(J. Cumming, D. D.)
The cloud of the incense.I. THE DOCTRINE OF THE INTERCESSION OF CHRIST.
1. AS typically exhibited under the law.
2. As actually fulfilled in Christ. He not only suffered on the Cross, but ascended; not on His own account, but ours. Illustrated by common analogies: as an advocate appears on behalf of his clients; a king on behalf of his subjects; a general as representative of his troops; a priest at the altar as representative of whole body of worshippers; so Christ appears as the representative of all His believing people. As our King He appears in beauty; as Captain of salvation appears victorious; as Elder Brother; as Priest, Counsellor, Advocate. Grand expression of His love. Not content to offer one life on the Cross. He consecrates His new existence. Though raised to the throne of reverence, does not overlook His little flock (John 17.).
II. THE BENEFITS WE DERIVE FROM IT.
1. The forgiveness of our sins. "If any man sin." After all done for us, we are guilty and undeserving. But while our sins are crying out against us on earth, Christ is pleading in heaven.
2. Relief of our sorrows. Christ possesses a capacity of sympathy, especially in mental distresses, tenderness of conscience, &c. Hannah prayed, but Eli's heart was not touched with feeling of her infirmity.
3. The acceptance of our duties. These are maimed and imperfect. Enough evil in them to render them offensive and displeasing to God. But Christ presents them (Revelation 8:2).
4. The frustration of spiritual enemies. Satan is the avenger, but Christ is our Advocate. "Peter, I have prayed for thee."
The goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities.I. THE TYPICAL SACRIFICE HERE ENJOINED.
1. Appointed by God. Therefore an atonement fully equal to our guilt; a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice; an oblation which satisfies the unbending law and even the infinitely holy mind of the great Jehovah, which leaves justice nothing to ask for, and the redeemed sinner nothing to dread.
2. The efficacy of the sacrifice enjoined in it must be traced to the Divine appointment.
II. THE CONDUCT WHICH AARON WAS COMMANDED TO OBSERVE WITH RESPECT TO IT. The mere appointment of these two animals as a sin-offering was not sufficient to atone for the transgressions of the Israelites: the one must be slain, and the other must be presented before the Lord and have particular ceremony performed over it, before Israel can be pardoned.
1. A part of this ceremony consisted in the confession of guilt. We are called on to be very earnest in our efforts to become acquainted with the full extent of our depravity; to be often looking into our hearts and reviewing our lives, and to be particular and minute in acknowledging the sins which we discover there.
2. It tells us that the high priest, slier having confessed over the goat the sins of the people, was to transfer them to the victim before him; he was to put them on its head, thus intimating that their guilt no longer rested on them but on the devoted animal on which his hands were laid. The spiritual meaning of this part of the ceremony is plain. It was designed to teach us figuratively the same blessed truth which has now been revealed to us without a figure, and which constitutes the substance and glory of the gospel, that "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us"; that, "He bare our sins in His own body on the tree"; that the Lord hath laid on Him "the iniquities of us all."
III. THE BENEFITS WHICH RESULTED FROM AARON'S OBEDIENCE TO THE INJUNCTIONS GIVEN HIM. After the appointed confession had been made over it, and the sins of the people put upon its head, the goat was to be sent away into an uninhabited wilderness.
1. This was undoubtedly designed to show us the completeness of that pardon of sin which Christ has purchased by the sacrifice of Himself for the believing sinner. It is a pardon extending, not to a few iniquities, but to all.
2. But the pardon the believing penitent receives through Christ is an everlasting, as well as a complete pardon. This is strongly implied in the text. The goat was not only to bear away all the iniquities of the children of Israel, but it was to bear them away into "a wilderness," into "a land not inhabited"; a land cut off from all other countries; a desolate, unvisited, and almost inaccessible region, in which the devoted animal was to be let go, and where it would remain unseen and forgotten till it perished. The Israelites therefore had .not only the assurance that all their past iniquities were pardoned, but they were taught also by this ordinance that they had no reason to fear the return of them, or the revoking of this pardon.
(C. Bradley, M. A.)
I. THE SCAPEGOAT REPRESENTED THE SUBSTITUTION OF CHRIST IN THE PLACE OF SINNERS.
II. THIS SUBSTITUTION OF CHRIST HAS MADE AMPLE SATISFACTION FOR SIN.
III. THIS ATONEMENT BY CHRIST EXTENDS TO ALL SINS.
1. Iniquities. Some say these refer to our original depravity.
2. Transgressions. The violations of the positive laws of God.
3. Sins. Neglect of His holy commands. Perhaps they are used to denote that the scapegoat bore away sins of every kind and description.
IV. THAT CHRIST, AS TYPIFIED BY THE SCAPEGOAT, HAS EFFECTED SUBSTITUTION FOR ALL PEOPLE.
V. IN WHAT WAY THE BENEFITS OF CHRIST'S SUBSTITUTION ARE RECEIVED.
1. Faith is requisite.
2. Sins confessed and repented of.Application:
1. Man's criminal and dangerous condition. Laden with iniquities and sins.
2. The only way of avoiding the terrible results of transgression. "By Jesus Christ."
3. The only means by which the blessings of salvation are to be received. By true repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
4. Let all men thus avail themselves of the redemption that is in Christ.
(J. Burns, D. D.)
I. THE INNOCENT VICTIM.
1. Innocent. Had no sins of its own to bear. Thus Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:24). With sins of its own how could it atone for the sins of others? No man selected who might ceremonially bear the sins of the people away, and then return after being ceremonially purified.
2. Divinely selected. Chosen by lot. "The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord." Jesus was the Lamb of God. The lamb of Divine selection. Hence how great should be our confidence in this Saviour!
3. Representative. Goat generally regarded as representing evil propensities, and therefore as specially illustrating the wicked (Matthew 25:32-46). So Jesus took our nature. Likeness of men and of sinful flesh (Philippians 2:7; Romans 8:3).
II. THE IMPUTED TRANSGRESSIONS.
1. Of all the people, and all their iniquities. Vast number, variety, &c., of their sins. Jesus gave Himself a ransom for all. Died for our sins.
2. Transferred from the people by the will of God. By the grace of God Jesus tasted death for us. Our sins laid upon Him according to the mercy of God.
3. Transferred by the priest with confession. They were to be acknowledged as the people's sins. Confession of sin a condition of our acceptance. Not that God does not know, but that the act of confession brings our guilt home more to our own heart, and tends to promote humility and an earnest desire for mercy. Besides, God has willed it (chap. Leviticus 5:5; Hosea 5:15), and added promises of mercy to such as obey (Leviticus 26:40-42; Proverbs 28:13). And pardon follows (Psalm 32:5; 1 John 1:9).
4. Bearing this burden, the goat was then lead away into the wilderness. Away from the camp, whither it might never return to defile it. The iniquity to be clean gone for ever. The people not to be punished for the sins thus "removed far" from them. Christ bore our reproaches, and was crucified outside the camp.
III. THE DELIVERED PEOPLE.
1. Deliverance from sin the greatest deliverance. Other deliverances being temporal, but this eternal; others bodily, &c., this spiritual.
2. It would promote happiness. They felt that a great load had been removed. Rejoiced in spiritual liberty. The joy of imputed innocence. Now looked upon with favour, their sins being borne away. "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us."
3. It would excite gratitude. Otherwise they would have had to answer for their sins. Apply this to Jesus, and those who are saved from wrath through Him.Learn —
1. Christ Jesus was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.
2. He made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made, &c.
3. The duty of confession and personal faith.
(J. C. Gray.)
Homilist.I. THAT THE SEPARATION OF MAN FROM HIS SINS IS A SUBJECT OF TREMENDOUS MOMENT.
1. The moral struggles of mankind show the necessity of man being separated from his sins.
2. The influence of sin on human nature shows this. It has mortalised our bodies, clouded our intellects, polluted our affections, burdened our consciences, enfeebled and enslaved our powers.
3. The intervention of Christ shows this.
II. THAT A PENITENTIAL APPROACH TO GOD THROUGH SACRIFICE IS THE DIVINE METHOD OF SEPARATION.
1. Sin deserves death.
2. Through the death of another, the sinner's death may be avoided.
III. THAT THE SEPARATION OF MAN FROM HIS SIN, IF EFFECTED THROUGH THE TRUE SACRIFICE, IS COMPLETE.
(T. M. Morris.)
2 Kings 16.); Manasseh (chap. 2 Kings 21.), and the King of Moab (chap. 2 Kings 3.), their own sons. This was a great mistaking you plainly see, and therefore let it move you to send up thankful thoughts to God for your better knowledge and understanding.
1. Wherever sin exists it is an isolating principle. Its tendency is to induce seclusion and separation, to shut the person who is possessed of it from all connection with that which is outside itself.
2. The scapegoat was to bear upon its head all the confessed iniquity of the children of Israel, and to bear it into a land of separation. Christ was the Scapegoat of the human family. In the Epistle to the Hebrews we read that He, by the Eternal Spirit, offered Himself to God. The scapegoat finds the land of separation at last, all alone in the darkness. He bore our sins into the land not inhabited. No witnessing spirit can find them there; no denizen of those dreary regions can rediscover them. They are lost sight of by man; the angels find them obliterated from their view; and God Himself has turned His back upon them, and left them in the land of separation.
(W. Hay Aitken, M. A.)
(H. G. Trurnbull.).