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THE GREAT DAY OF ATONEMENT
In considering this type we must, to appreciate it, remember that it is a picture by itself, of one particular part, of the work of the World's High Priest.
It is a comparatively easy matter to talk or write about the High Priest anointed &c., going into the Holy Place and coming out, etc., in a general way, but we believe, to understand the matter clearly, we must realize first, that while Jesus is our (the church's) High Priest, yet in the more full and complete sense, He is the head and we the members of the body of the great High Priest, and these Levitical pictures primarily referring to the Head, when fully considered refer to the body complete. For instance, the ceremony of anointing commenced with the "Head" and the anointing oil (the Holy Spirit) continues running down over all the members of the body during the Gospel Age.
The consecrating of the priesthood includes all the members of his body, and requires all of the Gospel Age to complete it.
The sacrifice of atonement commenced with the Head and we "fill up the measure of the sufferings of Christ which are behind," and therefore this suffering requires all of the Gospel Age.
So we see that all of these pictures are separate and distinct, and will all be complete at the end of the Gospel Age. And then shall the Great High Priest of the world (Jesus and His bride, made ONE, Head and members complete) stand forth crowned a King and Priest after the Melchisidec order.
There He will stand before the world (manifest but unseen) the Great Prophet–"A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you like unto me, (Moses) and it shall come to pass that the soul that shall not hear that Prophet, shall be cut off from among the people." (The second death).
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There He will stand, Priest of the most High God and King of Salem, i.e. "King of Peace"–"A Priest upon His throne."
He came typically to the Jews in the end of their age as Prophet, (teacher) as Priest ("when he offered up Himself," `Heb. 7:27`.) and as King. (When he rode into their city at the close of his ministry.) But they did not receive him in any of these forms. During the Gospel Age, his church or body has acknowledged him as "a teacher sent from God" –the Great Prophet; as their "High Priest," and as their "King" or ruler. The word teaches however that it is not by the church only that he is to be accepted, but He (together with us as His body) shall be the Prophet for the people, the Priest for all the people and the King over all people, nations and languages; "Lord of all," Priest of all, Prophet or teacher of all.
This chapter (`Lev. 16`.) treats of the sacrifice of atonement, which as we shall see requires all of the Gospel Age. In the work of sacrifice, Jesus, the head, was not arrayed in glory and we as his body are not in glory when we suffer with him. No, that will come after the sufferings of all are over; there we shall put on "the garments for glory and for beauty." "If we suffer with him, we shall also be glorified together." It is for this reason that on the day of atonement, instead of his "garments for glory and beauty," Aaron puts on simply "linen garments" representing holiness and purity. `Ver. 4`. These were put upon the body when washed and represented the fact that we, his members, not having righteousness of our own, were reckoned as pure, washed and clothed with "fine linen which is the righteousness of the saints." We need the covering, but our Head did not–He was holy, harmless, undefiled;" so the head of the typical High Priest, wore only a linen mitre or crown, representing a crown of righteousness–to which was added when this work of atonement sacrifice was complete and the glorious garments put on, a plate of gold representing glory.
The first sacrifice, the Bullock, represented Jesus personally. `Ver. 3 and 6`. It stood "for" or instead of Aaron the High Priest. He could not lay down his life and then arise from the dead, and take of his own blood into the tabernacle, therefore God permitted him to represent himself by a Bullock, so then the Bullock's death represents the sacrifice of Christ's natural life; while the High Priest's taking the blood into the holy place typified the risen Jesus, a spiritual body entering heaven itself.
But, before this sacrifice another work was necessary. `Ver. 12 and 13` inform us that before he could approach to make atonement with the blood, he must take fire from off the altar before the Lord and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small and bring it within the vail, and put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat. The incense was of a peculiar kind. (Read `Ex. 30:34-38`.) None could be made like it. It, we think represented the perfection of "the man Christ Jesus." "Fairer art thou than all the fair among the sons of men." This perfect character when placed (by himself) on the fire (trial and temptation) yielded a rich perfume, covering the "Mercy Seat." Our High Priest must first be recognized as a tried and perfect one, before he could be received as a sacrifice for us. In this way he was proved to be perfect and because perfect he could go forth and offer his life a sacrifice for sin. This incense (representing his tried but spotless life) having been offered, the High Priest takes, as we have seen, the Bullock which is for (instead of) himself, and offers it for himself and for his house to make an atonement. `Ver. 5,11 and 14`.) It was offered for himself, i.e. for his body, the Bride. The Head was holy and had ever been at one with God, but the members of his body were yet enemies to God through sin. These must be made at-one. And not for the "little flock" –(the bride the overcomers) only is the bullock offered but also for his house. Aaron's house was the tribe of Levi (`Num. 17:2-3`) consequently the blood of the bullock, representing Aaron was used to make atonement for the Priest and for the house of Aaron–the Levites. `Num. 8:12`. So Jesus gave his life for the "Royal Priesthood" and also for the larger company of "them that fear God's name, small and great"–the general church, of believers. Be it remembered that we understand that the church or house of Christ is composed of a much larger company than the overcomers who are to sit on the throne.
The bullock having been slain, its body was taken outside the camp and burned with fire; representing that when Jesus died for our sins, his flesh life was counted as though sinful and consumed. "His flesh saw not corruption" yet his flesh life was destroyed. "He took upon him the form of a servant for the suffering of death. There that form of life ended, and though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him (so) no more." He was quickened, or made alive by the Spirit and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit; and since he was the first (so) born from the dead, he was a spiritual body. He was sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body. As in the type, Aaron who took the blood of the bullock into the tabernacle, was a higher form of life than the bullock slain, so Jesus the spiritual body who enters the true Holy of Holies with his own blood is possessed of a higher life than the man Christ Jesus who died.
As in the type, the life and body of the sin offering are kept separate from the higher life and body of the High Priest, so we find that Jesus our sacrifice both in life and body is kept separate and distinct from the life and body of our Great High Priest who entered the heavens. He gave this natural life and the natural or fleshly body for our sins according to the type, "A body hast thou prepared me." But the slaying of
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the sacrifice did not make the at-one-ment; the Priest must present before God, the blood as the evidence of its accomplishment, before the Priests and Levites could be at-one with God. So with our sacrifice; the death of Jesus brought no change to the condition of the Apostles until he had gone into the Most Holy and presented before God the evidence that he had "paid it all"– that he had "poured out his soul (natural life) unto death"–had "made his soul an offering for sin." It was accepted. God sent forth his Spirit on the day of Pentecost as the evidence of its acceptance. Thus he made atonement for us and by him, says Paul, we have received the atonement. Now we who were aliens and enemies to God and who never could have worked our way back to a condition of harmony with him, are justified in God's sight from all things through the blood of Jesus, and because at-one, God hath sent forth his Spirit into our hearts whereby we can call him Our Father. This feature of the work of atonement viz., the sacrifice for his body and his house was completed 1800 years ago, and the mark of its acceptance and completeness is "the Holy Spirit given unto us."
But another sacrifice is pointed to in the type, another sin-offering, not again for his body and house. No, that was finished, but this time "for the people" (Israel) type of the world. Two goats are used in making the atonement for the world, as the bullock had been for the house. The Lord's goat is made a sin offering, and Aaron did with it exactly what he did with the bullock. `Ver. 8,15,18,27`. The sin-offering of the bullock and goat were really one, and yet there are these two parts. What do these goats typify, has been asked by many bible students, and we have asked the same and never until now have been able to find an answer to our satisfaction. We believe the two goats to be types of the two classes of true believers in Christ constituting his church.
The "Lord's goat" represents the "little flock," "who count not their lives dear unto them."
The "scape-goat" representing "the great company" who through fear of death, were all their life time subject to bondage."
As these goats were taken from the people, as it were, to be representatives of them, so the church has been taken "from among men." "God did visit the Gentiles to take out a people for his name." The work of taking out goes on during the gospel dispensation, and each one as soon as taken presents himself before the Lord, as the goats stood at the door of the tabernacle waiting. The lot is cast (`ver. 8`.) indicating to us that God does not arbitrarily elect which shall be part of the little or the great company; all who believe are part of his house and are alike justified by his blood, but whether he shall be least or greatest depends largely upon his own use of the opportunities placed thus within his reach. Thus considered the church in its two companies– "The Lord's goat (Christ's body– the under priest) and the scapegoat (his house–believers in general, typified by Levites) have existed since the church began at Pentecost and have continued ever since. One party follows the example of the head and crucifies the flesh with its affections and lusts, reckoning themselves dead indeed unto sin. As Jesus renounced the world, flesh and devil, so do those actuated by the same spirit, remembering the promise of Jesus–"To him that overcometh, I will give to sit with me in my throne, even as I overcame, etc."
The sufferings of Jesus were not the price of our ransom, but his death–his shed blood or life given. In the type it was not the sufferings of the bullock or goat, but the DEATH, by which an atonement was effected, though they suffered, of course, because death involves suffering. "The Man, Christ Jesus," "tasted death for every man," by being crucified– a gradual or lingering death–but the giving of his life in any manner would have paid the price. Now, all who would be "members of his body" must die to the world, give up the flesh life, so that they can, with Paul, "reckon themselves dead indeed unto sin." (`Rom. 6:11`). And "If Christ be in you, the body is dead," "but the spirit is life." (`Ver. 10`). If you are fully and entirely consecrated, your own natural will and desire all resigned to the will of "The Head," "Ye are dead,
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and your life is hid with Christ in God." (`Col. 3:3`), and you may add, "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. The life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God." (`Gal. 2:20`). It is then "Christ in you" that is the only actuating or controlling principle. This bringing of the natural into subjection to the spiritual is a gradual death and requires time, and is therefore called "CRUCIFYING the flesh." Jesus could do this entirely, because perfect, but we are imperfect, therefore our Head supplies the overcoming power through the spirit, making our supply of strength to depend on our faith in Him. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith." In some ages it has been necessary for those who would follow the Master to walk to the stake, and thus "crucify the flesh." While those who live today are not caused to suffer thus, they are nevertheless called upon just as really to crucify the flesh. And we believe to some it is today a greater trial to follow the Master and walk separate from the worldliness in the nominal church, "having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reproving them," than to have gone to the stake to burn in an age when that was counted a matter of honorable distinction in the church.
Ah, yes, to be dead indeed, and crucified with Christ is also to be "made a partaker of His sufferings." It is a reality which we fear is realized by but few of those who claim to be "followers of the Lamb." If we follow Him we will as surely be led to death as He was. If it caused Him to suffer, it will cause us to suffer also. You may expect it, for He said: "Whosoever will live godly shall suffer persecution." As His persecution came principally from a nominal church, so we may expect the same. If they called the Master of the house, Beelzebub, the servant should expect the same. "The servant shall not be above his Lord." If you get along smoothly, you have reason to fear that your life shows so little difference from that of the world that they don't think worth while to persecute you. But if you follow the Master, they will say of you also: "Thou hast a devil, and art mad," "Thou art beside thyself." This dying, or crucifying, requires frequently a long time, and often when you think you have, by grace given, mastered your old nature by your new, overcome your old will of the flesh by your new will of Christ "dwelling in you richly," you find, as Paul did, that the old may revive in a moment not expected, and require crucifying again. As Paul did, so must we keep our body under, and this killing and keeping under of our flesh nature continues to be a battle until physical death ends it. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
But it may be asked: How is our death to the flesh any more of a sacrifice than the death of the world? We answer that we were justified to perfect natural life by the death of Jesus, and God promises that if we believe this and then voluntarily give up that portion of natural life, which we now possess, He will give us a higher life–the spiritual– and a higher body–the spiritual. And thus reckoned as the body or bride of Jesus, we become "partakers (part-takers) of the Divine nature" and in the highest sense "Sons of God" and "Joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, our Lord," who is and ever shall be "Head over all, God blessed for ever."
Again (`ver. 27`), the flesh of the goat was treated in the same manner as the flesh of the bullock; i.e., it was consumed with fire outside the camp. This is another proof that the goat of sin offering represents the body of Christ, for Paul (`Heb. 13`) exhorts us that as Jesus suffered without the gate–"Let us go forth therefore unto Him without (outside) the camp, bearing His reproach." Nor should it seem strange to us that we should be called on to be sacrifices with Him–to die with Him, if we expect to be glorified together. If we are to know the power of His resurrection (have spiritual bodies like Him) we must expect the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death, if by any means we would attain unto THE (principal or first) resurrection:" (`Phil. 3:8-11`), for "If we be dead with Christ we shall also live with Him." (`Col. 2:20`; `2 Tim. 2:11`; `Rom. 6:8-11`). "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." (`2 Tim. 2:12`). "If so be that we suffer with Him that we may be also glorified together." (`Rom. 8:17`). "For even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow in His footsteps." "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God." (`1 Pet. 2:21` and `3:18`.) Jesus suffered, even unto death, and we are to do the same–have "fellowship with His sufferings"–be "made conformable unto His death." "Forasmuch, then, as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind." (To crucify the flesh.) "For he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;" i.e., the sufferings when ended result in death of the flesh. "For unto you it is given on behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake." (`Phil. 1:29`). And thus, as the sacrifice of the goat filled up the sacrifice of atonement and sin offering in the type, so our Head, having suffered, left some little (compared to His) suffering to be shared by us as his body, and we "fill up that which is behind of the affections of Christ." (`Col. 1:24`.)
"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which shall try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you, but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are part-takers of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory shall be revealed ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." (`1 Pet. 4:12`).
Since recognizing this as the meaning of the goat sacrifice, we see a force and meaning in some of the New Testament utterances relating to our death, &c., which we never saw before, and it has given us a still more exalted idea of "our high calling in Christ Jesus"–called to be consecrated, called to be anointed, called to suffer, be sacrificed and die with Him, and called to be joint heirs with Him, to be glorified together, to sit with Him on His throne, and to inherit with him all things; called to be tried and tempted that soon we may be able to sympathize with mankind, and, with our Head, "Bless all the families of the earth." "Faithful is he that called you." "Be THOU faithful unto DEATH."
When the blood of the sin offering (bullock and goat) had been received and sprinkled in the holy place, the work of sacrifice was over and the High Priest changed his garments, so when the sufferings of the church are all ended and the death accepted by the Father, our High Priest will change the garments of His body. We as His body have been clothed in "linen" garments which represent the righteousness of saints, viz.: imputed righteousness. When the work of crucifying the flesh is finished, this condition of imputed, gives place to actual righteousness, as shown by the washing of the flesh. Notice that there are two washings, the first before the sacrifice of the bullock, representing the personal righteousness of Jesus, which was followed by the imputation of righteousness to His body, illustrated by linen garments; and the second washing, after the sacrifice of the goat, illustrating the perfection or actual righteousness of the church; and this is followed by the clothing with the proper garments of the High Priest–"garments for glory and for beauty." So when we are made perfect through suffering we shall put on the garments which properly belong to the high office to which we are called. "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."
But before our change of garments from those of sacrifice to those of glory, another work must be done. The "scape goat" must be sent away, bearing the iniquity of the people. As already suggested, we believe that this goat represents the "great company," who, while believers, and therefore members of the house, are yet not overcomers as are the members of His body. Our Lord teaches us that when the time arrives for "one to be taken and the other left," among those left will be some whom he calls his servants– unfaithful, but still his servants– foolish, but still virgins. Not accounted worthy to escape those things coming upon the world, they must remain here and go through the trouble with the world, have their portion or place with the hypocrites in this trouble, yet they are not hypocrites, and they will, during this trouble, "wash their robes and make them white in the blood of
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the Lamb." This class love the Lord, yet seem to cling to the world. They do not crucify the flesh and become dead to the world. Therefore they fail of attaining that honor attached to overcoming. They are "taken away" from being "branches of the vine," because, with full opportunity, they failed to develop fruit. They are "cut asunder" from membership of the body, chastised as the evil servants, or shut out from the wedding as foolish virgins. And when the bride company is made up, no more can come in, to that position. To any who afterwards claim to be the bride, He will say, "Depart from me, I never knew you," i.e., I do not recognize you as my bride. But though shut out from this, they are still recognized by the Lord as precious and beloved, and will be remembered as them that fear His name, small and great, and honored by an invitation to the "marriage supper of the Lamb," Thus, though they would not crucify themselves, and therefore could not be part of the sin-offering. (To be an offering it must be voluntary). God, unwilling that believers should be condemned with the world, puts them into a time of trouble, where they are forcibly put to death. It was so in Paul's day, also. He says: "Deliver such an one unto Satan (adversary) for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit [life] may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." (`1 Cor. 5:5`). But we have gone farther than the type. It merely shows the sending away of the goat. We learn the result through Paul.
It should not be forgotten, we repeat, that this type pictures, the sacrifice and sufferings of Christ (Head and body), and not the glory which will follow, which is referred to only incidentally as "putting on His own garments," the ones for glory and beauty. And now, as we expect so soon to change our garments and be "in glory and beauty arrayed," how important that we should each ask ourselves–Am I crucifying the flesh? Am I dead indeed?
— March, 1880 —