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COVENANT BY SACRIFICE
„Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” Psalm 50:5
Who are the saints? According to the above, none are saints who make no sacrifice. It is clear that the New Testament makes a distinction between saints, and them that fear [Reverence] God’s name, small and great. Rev. 2:18. And yet, as has been shown, this „great multitude” are to find a place before the throne in the heavenly temple. „And He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Rev. 7:15-17.
These evidently see the Lord, dwelling as they do in His presence, and yet Paul tells us that „Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” Heb. 12:14. Now if this great multitude do see the Lord, it proves that, when they see Him they are holy and therefore saints. How can we explain this seeming paradox? We are brought to this conclusion that all who ever enter the heavenly city either as Kings or as servants—i.e. as the government, or as citizens—must be holy or saints, but that there is order in their development. The King and priest company are the first ripe, and therefore the throne of the heavenly city is established first. Rev. 4:2. This is „the throne of God and of the Lamb;” and also of a company represented by twenty-four elders with crowns of gold. Rev. 4:4, 5:6, 7:17 and 22:3.
At the time of the establishment of the throne, or rather perhaps the exaltation of the „little flock,” or those who are ready for it, to the throne, the great multitude are not saints proper, and, like unripe grain, are left to ripen; and there is a difference also in the means or process of ripening. The little flock are out from the world, in voluntary obedience to the injunction. „Present your bodies a living sacrifice” and „Be not conformed to this world;” (Rom. 12:1-2.) while the multitude are living in close conformity to the world and are only separated from it at last, as was Israel from Egypt, on account of special acts of judgment. „Those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice” seems definitely to refer to the faithful few—the „Non-conformists.”
In presenting some thoughts on this subject of sacrifice, we wish to indorse in part what has already been presented in our paper by other brethren. We have been slow to accept this view, and cannot yet accept all the conclusions which have been drawn by the brethren. And we would here say that we honor as one of the chief Christian virtues the spirit that differs in opinion and yet lives in harmony; keeping „the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace.” Eph. 4:3. That
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is the kind of bondage under which we are laboring.
We call attention first to the tenth chapter of Hebrews. The first verse speaks of „those sacrifices which they offered year by year,” during the typical service of the earthly tabernacle. Notice, first, it is not one sacrifice, but plural—sacrifices. Second, these were not the daily sacrifices, but the yearly, or the sacrifices of the tenth day of the seventh month—the atonement day. This is confirmed by the third verse. „But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.” This is still further confirmed by the fourth verse, in which is mentioned the kind of sacrifices—”bulls and goats.” By turning to Lev. 16, it will be seen that such were the animals offered by the high priest on the annual day of atonement.
It has been clearly shown that the tenth day of the seventh month, or atonement day under the law, was a type or shadow of the whole gospel age, including the closing work of our Great High Priest, as well as the opening work. This being true, let us mark this point, that the sacrifices of this age were not typified by the daily offerings of the lower order of priests, but only by the annual offerings of the high priest. And as there were daily offerings for the people after as well as before the atonement day, so there will be offerings for the people after as well as before this atonement day—the gospel age. It is also evident that the provision of mercy by the sin-offerings on the atonement day was the basis for all other offerings, both before and after. Let this be specially noted by any who are in doubt as to the application of the benefits of the atonement after the gospel age.
Looking at the sacrifices—bullock and goat—of Lev. 16, in the light of facts given in the New Testament, there are reasons for believing that the bullock represented the body of Christ, which was prepared for sacrifice (Heb. 10:5), and that the goat which was slain represented the bodies of the saints, which they are called upon to sacrifice. Rom. 12:1. This is in harmony with the idea that the gospel age is an age of suffering, beginning with the personal sufferings of Christ, the Head, and not being complete until we, as the members of His body, have filled up what is behind of the afflictions of Christ. Col. 1:24. When the sufferings of Christ are ended, the glory will follow (1 Pet. 1:11), and „if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him. 2 Tim. 2:12.
Christ, our Head, is our example in suffering as in other things, and it is a remarkable fact that it is Christ in us that enables us to make our bodies a sacrifice—to „mortify the deeds of the body.” Rom. 8:10-13. These facts seem clearly foreshadowed in the type.
Let it be borne in mind that it required both priest and beast to represent our Lord Jesus Christ in His two natures, and that the beast in the type, and the body of Christ in the antitype, were the offerings. In Lev. 16:6 and 10, we learn that the bullock was for, or represented, Himself; i.e., the high priest. Not that the priest was doomed, and had a substitute in the beast, but illustrating, as best the type could (not being the very image of coming good things Heb. 10:1), the relation of the two natures of Christ, as both Priest and Sacrifice.
The same two verses tell us that the bullock was to „make an atonement for himself, and for his house.” We do not think it is safe to make the second „himself” mean any more than the first „himself,” in the same verse. They both refer to Aaron himself, and Aaron’s house clearly means the whole tribe of Levi, of which Aaron was the representative or head. The tribe of Levi in this picture clearly represents the church of Christ, or household of faith, while the camp of Israel as clearly represents the world of mankind, as distinct from the church.
The two goats are taken from the congregation of the children of Israel (ver. 5), and they were as a sin-offering for the people (not for Aaron’s house, as was the bullock), „because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel.” Verses 15,16. This was fully accomplished by one dying and the other being a scapegoat. Verses 21,22.
Now, in harmony with the idea that the church follows Christ in sacrifice, we find the goat on whom the Lord’s lot fell, followed the bullock in sacrifice in every particular. This has much force in our mind. The theory that has not room for all these facts cannot be a perfect theory, however much may be claimed for it.
What was done with the bullock? First, he was slain; then, the high priest carried its blood, not the body, or sin offering, either dead or alive, but the blood, which was the evidence of its death, into the most holy place, and sprinkled it „upon the mercy seat eastward, and before the mercy seat,” or in the form of a cross—a symbol of death. Verse 14. And the fifteenth verse tells us that he did precisely the same thing with the blood of the goat. And so the same disposition was made of their skins, their flesh and their dung—they were carried „without the camp,” and burned with fire. This similarity seems in force between Christ and the faithful. „Let us go forth, therefore, unto him without the camp bearing his reproach.” Heb. 13:13.
We would consider somewhat
THE ORDER OF SACRIFICE
The sixteenth of Leviticus, like much more of the word, is written somewhat obscurely, and were it not for the fulfillment, it would be more difficult to apply. Much as has been written to show that it was after the death and resurrection of Christ that He put on the „holy linen garments,” or what was represented by them, we calmly and earnestly express our conviction that neither Christ nor His type—the high priest under the law—had any right to make a sacrifice until dressed with the priest’s garments appointed for that work.
It seems clear that Christ’s body was not fully prepared for the sacrifice until He was thirty years of age—a perfect man being needed to represent all humanity in Adam. When the body was prepared, He came and was baptized, saying, „Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” Matt. 3:15. This act was doubtless foreshadowed by the high priest washing himself with water, and so putting on the holy linen garments. Lev. 16:4. Clean linen is the symbol of righteousness. Rev. 19:8.
This simple linen attire of the priest during the day of sacrifice and atonement should not be confounded with the garments for glory and beauty worn by the priest on other occasions, and described in Exodus 28.
We are satisfied that the work of Christ, from His baptism onward, cannot be understood until we recognize His two natures, or double life. We would say, also, we believe that the three apartments in the holy ground—the court, the holy
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place, and the most holy place—represent the three conditions of Christ, the natural, the spiritual, and the celestial—the immediate presence of the Deity. Until His death, He was bodily in the court, but in spirit He was serving as a priest in the holy place. In this, Christians are like Him. We live a double life—natural and spiritual. Actually or bodily, we are natural, or in the flesh, but are counted in the spirit, because the Spirit, or Divine nature, dwells in us. Rom. 8:9. Without this double, neither He nor we could be both priest and sacrifice, and we know that human nature will not crucify itself, and cannot be subject to the law of God.
Christ was strengthened to live, and in spirit served in the unseen, and, while He was denying Himself, it was a sweet incense ascending to the Father. This, too, was a necessary prerequisite to the death of the offering, and was represented, we believe, by the high priest putting the incense beaten small on the censor full of burning coals before the Lord. Lev. 16:12,13. This was an emblem of a life well pleasing unto God, which was necessary in order to the acceptance of the sacrifice. Outwardly, He was doing good to men, spending His life for them, and, therefore, inwardly, it was sweet incense to the Lord.
The living sacrifice we are to make, which Paul says is our reasonable service, seems to be of the same character. What truly blesses men is pleasing to God. The real sacrifice of Christ might properly be said to include this service. Paul seems to express this thought when of Christ he says: „And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Phil. 2:8. His last act was as much, and no more, a part of His obedience, than His first. Isaiah seems to express the same thought, „Because He hath poured out His soul [life] unto death.” 53:12. That is, He kept giving until He had given all He had.
When the body was dead, the law had no further claim (the life had been shed), and, in the resurrection, it was changed that it might be adapted to the spiritual life. Before, He was bodily visible, but spiritually in the sanctuary, as Christians are now; but after the resurrection, He was bodily in the sanctuary, or holy place. The Spirit had conquered, and therefore made Him a spiritual body. In this risen state, the world saw Him not, but for special reasons He was manifested to His disciples.
This sacrifice of the Head was to make an atonement for the church; and when Christ ascended into the celestial state, or immediate presence of God, and, like the high priest, presented the evidence of all He had done, the fact that the Father was well pleased was proved by the descent of the Holy Spirit, as the representative of both the Father and Son, to espouse the virgin church, and also to enable her, as
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represented by the goat, to do just what He had done—make the needed sacrifice, and so, in due time, to share his glory.
That the Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative in His church is shown in Jno. 14:16-26; 15:26, and 16:7-15. And that it is by the indwelling of this Spirit, or Christ in us, that we are counted members of Christ, and, therefore, appointed priests that we may overcome the flesh, putting it to death, thus making our bodies a living sacrifice even unto death, is the general teaching of the New Testament.
The period of Christ’s earth life was to Him what the gospel age, from Pentecost until this sacrifice of the church is complete, is to us. His life, devoted to God, on account of man, was sweet incense in heaven. So as we follow His example, our lives are sweet incense in heaven. As His sacrifice was not complete until He was dead, so ours is not complete until we are dead (or its equivalent for those „who are alive and remain”—the Lord saying „It is enough”). As the blood of the bullock (representing its death, or a complete sacrifice) being sprinkled in the form of a cross on the mercy seat, was not fulfilled until the ascension of Christ into the Holiest, does not analogy require, if the goat represents those who are faithful in sacrifice even unto death, that its blood, being sprinkled in the form of a cross on the mercy seat, should be fulfilled after the resurrection and ascension of the saints? If not, we would ask, why not?
As Christ’s sacrifice was complete and accepted before the salvation of the church began, for whose benefit it was directly made, so the sacrifice of the church must be complete and accepted before the salvation of the world begins, for whom it was made. Christ, the Head, gave Himself for the church, that He might present her spotless; Eph. 5:23-27; so the sacrifice of Head and Body complete reaches the world.
Nothing seems clearer than that this sacrifice and victory are represented by baptism, the real death to sin and mortality and the resurrection to holiness and immortality being represented by the symbolic death and resurrection. The symbol is the form of the sacrifice, but to make the sacrifice itself is a life work. This is the real baptism. Christ said „I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straightened until it be accomplished.” He evidently referred to His death. He had a cup to drink; it was the cup of death. This cup He also pressed to the lips of His disciples, „Drink ye all of it.” He drank it to the very dregs. Shall not we drink it by being „faithful unto death.” To such is promised the „crown of life.” In that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that He liveth He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. 6:10,11.
Many promise to drink this cup and die this death by obeying the form; but only those who pay their vow unto the Lord, and thus make the covenant by sacrifice, are counted saints and are to be gathered unto Christ, as represented by Aaron meeting Moses. Only such seem truly represented by the goat that was slain. J. H. P.
[Oh that the deep import of the matters presented above could be fully realized by all the dear flock. What a change it would make in many lives. How many, who have covenanted with God to sacrifice the earth life and spend it with all its talents and powers in His service are really spending it for self. Instead of self-sacrifice the rule of life and action seems to be self-protection; instead of self-denying it is self-gratification. Truly our lives are much like the world’s; they have only the natural life to care for and so spend their time and every effort in seeking earthly good but we are seeking heavenly riches—things above. We may deceive ourselves but „Be not deceived, God is not mocked.” If we covenanted to sacrifice and take up our cross and follow the example set by Jesus „we should walk in His footsteps.” We well know how he spent his life, not in self-gratification nor in any other selfish way, but for others.
The fleshly nature will oft suggest to us: You cannot do as Jesus, Paul, Peter, etc., did. Let our new nature answer: I may not be a vessel to as much honor and as much used by the Master as were the apostles, yet in my sphere, be it ever so humble, I can be as completely consecrated and as anxious to be used and spent in the Lord’s service as they were.
„A broken and emptied vessel,
For the Master’s use made meet.”
If I am ready for the service and He does not use me, then it will not be my fault. But we feel assured that there is not one in all God’s family who is ready and emptied of self the Master would not use. The reason we are not more used, seems to us to be, that we all have more or less of self in which keeps the Lord and his service out. Lord, help by the grace promised for every time of need, help us to empty ourselves completely of self-conceit, self-reliance, self-concern, self-will, selfishness, and give us instead, concern only to know and do Thy will; to rely only upon Thy strength; and to be imbued with the Divine principle Love, that we may love Thee with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. The above article of course does not need our commendation, but we heartily indorse its sentiments and would bespeak for it a careful and prayerful second reading by you all. Notice especially that while the house of Levi represents the household of faith only the priests, those associated with Aaron in making the sacrifice are reckoned as members of his body. The church of the first-born—the heirs—members—all follow the example of the head. The many brethren come after, but the first-born is heir and inherits all things. Oh, that is the prize we are wanting! Let us remember that it is not the knowledge of the prize, which gives it to us, but the laying aside of every weight … and so running as to obtain. It is not our making the covenant to die, etc., which makes us overcomers, but our keeping it makes us heirs, „Heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord if so be that we suffer with Him.” Rom. 8:17.—EDITOR.]
— November, 1880 —