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This chapter, take it altogether, is perhaps, as interesting and important as any, in the whole Levitical dispensation. And if explained to us, by the gospel, will be found worthy the most serious and close attention of all real believers in CHRIST. It contains the memorable account of the appointed ordinance, to be observed once only in every year, of the day of atonement. How the high priest is to enter, on this solemn day, into the holy place: the prohibition of his ever entering there but upon that day; the service he is to perform; the manner of performing it; the sin-offering he is to bring, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of his people: these things are all here particularly set down and appointed. The ceremony to be observed also respecting the scape-goat, forms a part of this chapter; and the attention to be shown by the people, upon this memorable occasion is pointed out.
In the opening of this chapter, I beg the Reader once again to keep in view the motto, which indeed ought to stand at the head of every chapter of the writings of Moses, and which I requested might be remembered, Moses wrote of CHRIST. And as the Apostle to the Hebrews, expressly tells us, that the HOLY GHOST signified to the church in the wilderness, by this annual service, the great leading points of salvation by JESUS; here in a very especial manner ought our attention to be awakened. Hebrews 9:7-8 .
The death of the two sons of Aaron, though priests before GOD, evidently taught that their sins, as well as the sins of the people, justly exposed them and all men universally to death; and without the atonement of blood by JESUS, no flesh could be saved. Hebrews 9:22 . Reader! what a precious privilege do true believers in JESUS possess; that our mercy-seat, which is CHRIST himself, we may not only approach at all times; but we are enjoined at all times to draw near with full assurance of faith. If was death to the Israelite to come near at any other season, than a when appointed. It is the life of our soul to be always drawing nigh, and our death only when kept from it. The covenant GOD of Israel, then appeared to Israel, but in a cloud. The covenant GOD of Israel now appears unveiled, in the person of his dear SON. And we all with open face, as in a glass, behold the glory of the LORD. Oh! for the sweet leadings, and influences of GOD the HOLY GHOST, that having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of JESUS, we may at all times draw near and find acceptance in the beloved. Hebrews 10:19-20 .
Here do I not see JESUS, strongly represented by the high priest? Observe, the garments of Aaron. He is not clothed in his rich glorious vestments on this day; because it was a day of humiliation. He had not on the Ephod with the precious stones; but clean linen only. And did not this represent the SON of GOD, who when he died on the cross, as the sin-offering of his people, laid aside the glories of the GODHEAD, and appeared in the humble garment of mortality. Hebrews 2:16-17 .
Observe, the distinction made between the offering intended for the priest, and for the people. JESUS though in all points, like as we are, yet was without sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 .
The apostle Paul, who was commissioned by the HOLY GHOST, to explain the whole of this memorable service to the Church, hath drawn several very striking lines of distinction, in order to show, both the agreement which the Jewish ceremony carried with it to the Christian sacrifice; and no less the vast dissimilarity. The Jewish high-priest offered first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. This he needed because he was himself a sinner. But our JESUS being holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, needed no sacrifice for himself.-The Jewish high priest entered the holy place, but once in every year. Our JESUS hath entered once for all, having obtained eternal redemption for his people.-The Jewish high priest entered into the holy place, with the blood of others. Our JESUS with his own blood.- The Jewish high priest was obliged to repeat this service every year, testifying thereby, the weakness and insufficiency of it. Our high priest, by the offering of his precious body, an offering for sin, once for all, hath forever perfected thereby, them that are sanctified. These things are beautifully explained to us, by the HOLY GHOST himself, through the ministry of the apostle; and we never can be sufficiently thankful to him for it. See Hebrews 9:0 throughout. Hebrews 10:10-12 .
Jewish writers have dwelt very largely on explaining the method the high priest observed in this ceremony. But I would rather confine my views of it, to what the HOLY GHOST hath been pleased to communicate to the church. The presentation of the two goats before the LORD is striking. The one which was to be slain, and the other that was to escape; both significantly set forth the different state respecting sin to be expiated and the sinner to be pardoned. And was not JESUS represented in both? Did not the slain goat, typify JESUS slain for our sins? Did not the scape goat, represent his carrying our sins away into the land of everlasting forgetfulness? Jeremiah 50:20 .
Reader! while attending to every minute circumstance in this grand affair, do not overlook, nor forget, what is said of JESUS, that he was verily fore-ordained to all these services, before the foundation of the world. 1 Peter 1:20 .
There needed two goats, in order to represent both offices of JESUS; the one dying for our sins: the other rising again, and ascending to glory for our justification. Romans 8:34 .
Reader! do observe, that before the high priest of the Jewish church, could offer for the people, he must first be brought into a state of reconciliation himself. Sweet view of JESUS. He also was offered on the great day of atonement to reconcile his house, whose house are we. But though made in the likeness of sinful flesh, and indeed made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of GOD in him, yet he himself knew no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. Compare Isaiah 53:0 with 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 2:24 .
John beautifully explains this in reference to the LORD JESUS. Revelation 8:3-5 . Reader! pray for the enlightening grace of the HOLY GHOST, that you may, by faith, look within the vail, whither our forerunner is for us entered; and there behold the Great High Priest of our profession, appearing in the presence of GOD for us; and there pleading the true incense of his own merits, the sole cause of our acceptance before GOD. Hebrews 1:3 .
Did not the sprinkling with the blood, signify the blood of sprinkling to which true believers are come? Hebrews 12:24 . Did not the applying of it upon the mercy-seat, eastward, and before it, signify that the church and ordinances must all be washed and made clean in the blood of the LAMB? And did not the very act of sprinkling, imply that the merits and efficacy of the blood of JESUS must be applied to the sinner's conscience, as well as shed for the sinner, to render it efficacious? Romans 4:25; Romans 4:25 .
The same ceremony for the people as for himself, implied the universal taint of corruption; both alike in priest and people. It is nothing short of the blood of JESUS CHRIST, that cleanseth from all sin. Reader! meditate again and again on that sweet scripture, which can never be too strongly impressed upon the mind; that such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. Hebrews 7:26-27 .
Observe what is here said of the high priest being alone; and then turn to what Isaiah saith of JESUS, Isaiah 63:5 . And do not forget that in our LORD'S agony in the garden, and in the height of his sufferings, all his disciples left him.
Doth not this return of the high priest from within the vail to the altar, sweetly shadow out the coming forth of the LORD JESUS, by the influences of the HOLY GHOST, to bless and meet his church and people in the way of ordinances, and the several means of grace by his gospel? And may we not consider it also, as a striking resemblance of his second coming without sin unto salvation, when he will come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe? 2 Thessalonians 1:10 .
This putting of both hands upon the head of the goat, and confessing over the animal all the iniquities of Israel, implied in the strongest way possible, the truth of that scripture, that the LORD hath laid on JESUS the iniquities of us all. Isaiah 53:6 . And the dismission of the goat, thus typically laden, with the sins of Israel into the wilderness; carried with it this idea, that when the LORD forgives sin, he is said to remember it no more. See those scriptures, Micah 7:19 ; Isaiah 38:17 ; Psalms 103:12 . Dearest JESUS! enable me by faith, to lay my hand upon thy sacred head, and confess with shame and confusion of face, my numberless transgressions. And oh! may I find grace and faith, to be in such lively exercise, that I may know for myself that I have redemption in thy blood, even the forgiveness of all my sins, according to the riches of thy grace. Ephesians 1:7 .
Did not the frequent washing, mentioned in this chapter of the High Priest, and the change of garments, carry with them somewhat expressive of the person of JESUS, and the operations of the HOLY GHOST on the minds of his people? Titus 3:5-6 .
Exodus 29:13 .
Can anything more strikingly describe the defiling nature of sin, than what these verses represent of ceremonial uncleanness? So far we see were these sacrifices and offerings incompetent to take away sin, that the very use of them demanded further cleansing. Our most holy things are all unholy, and all require cleansing in the blood of JESUS. The apostle's arguments upon these things are final and decisive: Hebrews 10:1-4 . But how satisfactory doth the same apostle add the perfect forgiveness of sins by the oblation of JESUS? Hebrews 10:14 .
Such was the vast importance of this ordinance in the Jewish church, that the LORD commanded its perpetual observance until the great sacrifice, which the whole of this service typified, should be accomplished. When the substance was fulfilled, the shadow forever ceased. CHRIST being come our Great High Priest, the legal dispensation of ordinances gives way to the venerable and precious institutions of the gospel; and JESUS having, by his own blood, entered once into the holy place, hath obtained eternal redemption for us.
PAUSE, my soul, over this precious chapter, and take another view of thy Great High Priest, in the type of him here presented on the day of atonement. Behold in Aaron the resemblance of him, who, in respect to his human nature, was taken from among men, solemnly called to the priesthood, and confirmed in the office by an oath. And do not forget, my soul, that it was the FATHER'S rich love, which both appointed and furnished thy JESUS, with every necessary gift and grace for the work, that his sacrifice might be of infinite value, and his person altogether competent to the arduous undertaking of bearing the sins of his people; an undertaking, the weight of which would have crushed the whole race of men and angels. Behold JESUS, fully qualified, entering upon the glorious service! See him as the great High Priest of thy profession, on the solemn day of atonement, going in before the mercy-seat. And fix thine eye, with steady faith, on this GOD-MAN CHRIST JESUS, while looking after him within the vail, because he entereth not with the blood of others, but with his own blood; and because he entereth not within the vail of an earthly sanctuary, but into heaven itself, there to appear in the presence of GOD for us. Hail, precious Saviour! all glory to thy name, now thou art gone before, and hast taken possession of the realms above in our name. Remember LORD, thy sweet promise, and may it be my portion, to feel the constraining influence of it in my heart. For thou didst say, before thy departure; and I, if I be lifted up will draw all men unto me. LORD draw my soul upward, heavenward, Christward and I will run after thee, for thou art the LORD my GOD!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Leviticus 16". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
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