Tuesday, May 30th, 2023
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
Kelly Commentary on Books of the Bible Kelly Commentary
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Kelly, William. "Commentary on Leviticus 21". Kelly Commentary on Books of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ wkc/ leviticus-21.html. 1860-1890.
Kelly, William. "Commentary on Leviticus 21". Kelly Commentary on Books of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
- Henry's Complete
- Clarke Commentary
- Bridgeway Bible Commentary
- Coffman's Commentaries
- Bullinger's Companion Notes
- Calvin's Commentary
- Bell's Commentary
- College Press
- Smith's Commentary
- Dummelow on the Bible
- Constable's Expository Notes
- Darby's Synopsis
- Ellicott's Commentary
- Gaebelein's Annotated
- Morgan's Exposition
- Gill's Exposition
- Everett's Study Notes
- Geneva Study Bible
- Haydock's Catholic Commentary
- Commentary Critical
- Commentary Critical Unabridged
- Gray's Concise Commentary
- Sutcliffe's Commentary
- Trapp's Commentary
- Kretzmann's Commentary
- Lange's Commentary
- Grant's Commentary
- Henry's Complete
- Poole's Annotations
- Pett's Commentary
- Peake's Commentary
- Preacher's Homiletical
- Poor Man's Commentary
- Benson's Commentary
- The Biblical Illustrator
- Coke's Commentary
- The Expositor's Bible Commentary
- The Pulpit Commentaries
- Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
- Wesley's Notes
- Whedon's Commentary
- Henry's Complete
- Keil & Delitzsch
- Mackintosh's Notes
- Seiss' Lectures
- Kelly Commentary
We have seen the various forms of the work of Christ, of His offering of Himself to God, whether in all the perfectness of His life, or in His death as the means of our acceptance. We have seen further the consecration of the priests naturally following the offerings and their laws, then the directions whereby the priests might learn to distinguish between clean and unclean, with the various forms in which the total defilement of the people was represented, in birth, disease, and infirmity.
Now we have the great atonement-day. Not more truly does this chapter stand out singly, and in a literally central position of the book, than the atonement itself does in the ways of God. It is evident that, however all may have prepared us for it, and however that which follows too may flow from it, atonement has a place to itself a place to which there is nothing similar or second a place that lies at the very basis of all God's ways the only possible means for the blessing of a sinful creature before God. It is well that we should enjoy all the privileges with which God's grace may invest us, and that we should delight in that which He makes known to us as the revelation of His own nature as well as of His counsels and ways; for He would make us truly happy; and there is no happiness except in communion with Himself. At the same time the atonement has incomparably the deepest place of all truths in scripture, save only Christ's person, in whom all the fulness dwelt bodily. God revealed Himself thus with a view to the atonement, and the atonement itself, besides having this character of centre and foundation-stone, becomes the capital means of bringing the soul out of all its wretched and sinful selfishness (which indeed is sin and misery) into the knowledge of God, so as God Himself never could have given, had there not been sin to draw out the Son of God to die in atonement. In short the very evil of the creature has given occasion to such a knowledge of God as never could have been enjoyed without it to its own shame indeed, but to God's everlasting glory.
For this reason then the forms in which God gave the intimations of the atonement have the deepest possible interest for our souls. We must bear in mind however, that here as everywhere we have only the shadow, and in no instance the very image of the thing. We shall always find that which falls short. There could be but one Christ, the only begotten Son; and so but one work in which He has brought out not merely God but God glorified as to our sin glorified in His own moral being and in His gracious provision that we should be delivered from it.
First of all then we have that which shows us the necessary imperfection of all the provisional dealings. "The law made nothing perfect." We may see indeed how true is this very feature in the beginning of the chapter; for "Jehovah spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before Jehovah, and died; and Jehovah said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not." Now it is evident, that to have the glory of God as the element of our joy and we are entitled to rejoice in hope of it even as we are to joy in God Himself supposes nearness to Himself. To keep the soul out of the presence of God is incompatible with real enjoyment of Him. Nevertheless, though the circumstance of failure on the part of Nadab and Abihu gave occasion to requiring distance on man's part, there could have been none other provision under the law or till the cross.
When Aaron henceforth entered the sanctuary, he must come after the following fashion. He was to bring a young bullock for a sin-offering, and a ram for a burnt-offering.` But as for his garments of glory and beauty, he could not bring them into the sanctuary. And this again lets us know how totally all signs fail in consequence of man's condition. Indeed what they showed was not the entrance of man according to the counsels of God into His own presence, but that the first man could not so enter; for whatever might be the forms of glory and beauty represented by that clothing for the high priest, in point of fact he never could wear it in the presence of God. The only time at which he did enter the most holy place was when he wore the linen clothes to be put on expressly on the day of atonement. At other seasons he might not enter there. He was to put on these linen clothes after having put off the others. He was to wash his flesh in water, and so put them on, in aim shadowing the purity of Christ, but in fact confessing the impurity of the first man. Intrinsic purity was found in its perfection in Christ. "And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin-offering, and one ram for a burnt-offering. And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin-offering, which is for himself."
The first thing here to which I would draw your attention is the single offering where Aaron and his house were concerned, and the double one on behalf of the people of Israel. This is evident on the face of the chapter. When we come to the facts to which these types looked onward, need it be said that there was but one sacrifice but one comprehensive sacrificial act which met all that was meant, whether in the bullock on the one hand, or in both the goats on the other? But still no serious soul can question for a moment the importance of the truth intended to be conveyed by this typical difference. For in the case of the priestly family, with Aaron at the head of it, there was but a single act. The bullock was slain, and the sprinkling of its blood alone met all the exigencies of God's holiness and nature as regarded Aaron and his house. But in the case of the children of Israel we have a far more complicated system. There was a marked distinction drawn between the two goats, one of which was slain. It was called Jehovah's lot; for lots were cast for them as to which was to be slain, and which sent alive into the wilderness. The latter, carefully reserved till all was. over with the bullock and the other goat, was brought forward at a later moment.
Now what is the prominent truth to be gathered from this marked difference? To me it appears to be of no small moment for our souls. We all more or less tend toward Jewish ideas. So it has invariably been, and there are natural reasons why it should be. I do not mean merely the power of Satan in always seeking to corrupt God's testimony, whatever it may be at any given time. But there is this essential difference between the ways of God with the Jew and with the Christian that those with Israel are more adapted to the senses and the reason, as well as the working of natural conscience; whereas those addressed to the Christian flow simply and solely from the revelations of God's counsels and grace, and suppose the faith that acquaints itself with His mind and love. For instance, take the law itself. Every upright conscience feels what may be called the reasonableness of its demands, and the justice of its decisions. Conscience can conclude about it, and feel how right it all is. Of course, when one speaks about its reasonableness, it is not meant in a mere mental way, but so as to satisfy what conscience owns to be due to God and man.
But the Christian has an altogether higher standard, where all depends on the simplicity of receiving what is above nature, and where, if nature presumes to reason, it invariably draws false conclusions. In short the Christian never can form a right conclusion, except in reasoning from what God is as He has revealed Himself in His word, and never from the feelings of conscience, or that which would seem to be just. Now this is invariably true, and therefore it is that, when persons are simply awakened, they are apt to fall into a legal state. It has always for its effect the conscience set in action through the Spirit of God, who brings in the light of the word; and deals with the heart, showing no doubt mercy behind it all, but nevertheless discovering the evil that is within. In such a condition there is always danger of reasoning from what we are to God; and we all know what immense anguish of soul this may produce, and how perfectly the gospel meets all such anxieties; for while it gives conscience the fullest place, nevertheless it brings liberty of heart by the full revelation of God's grace in Christ. The consequence is that the effect wrought by the truth of God in the full light of grace is incomparably simpler; and for this reason that by the light of Christianity all that is in or of man is put down as thoroughly evil. In point of fact the cross entitles us to pronounce ourselves dead before God; and beyond question death settles all questions. Now I do not believe that even in the dealings of God with Israel by and by there will be anything like such depth of dealings; and certainly it was not so in the past. We can see it in the psalms, as well as in the accounts given of the saints of God, making due allowances where there is a type of greater things.
In this respect we may illustrate it by the difference of two well-known characters in the very first book of the Bible. Take Abraham's faith and way, as compared with Jacob. Abraham walks in communion by faith. Jacob has to be chastened; the ground of his heart must be constantly ploughed up, that he may learn what Abraham did not need in the same way, being occupied with what God was towards him and with His word, instead of requiring the painful and humbling, however salutary, lesson of what he had failed to be for God. It would seem that the difference is somewhat of this kind between the provision for the Jewish people in the two goats, as compared with that which is represented by the single bullock, where the whole mighty work of the Lord Jesus Christ, as applied to the Christian and to the church, is found. Of course the word "church" is employed here only in a general sense; for it is granted fully that all types fail to reveal the mystery as such. Certain figures there are connected with the mystery, but there is no type whatsoever which brings out the mystery in its fulness.
In the case of the bullock there is no distinction drawn between the judgment of sin in the vindication of God's own nature, and the dealing with the sins of the priestly house. All was contained in the one unbroken work that was here represented. The bullock was brought out and offered as it is said as a sin-offering for Aaron and for his house. Afterwards the two goats are taken and presented before Jehovah, and lots are cast upon them; one lot for Jehovah, and the other lot for the scape-goat. Aaron then brings the bullock of the sin-offering, and makes an atonement for himself and his house. He carries incense within the veil, and there sprinkles of the blood upon the mercy-seat and before it seven times. In this manner the whole work is done with extreme simplicity. But for this very reason there is a depth in what God represented by the death of the bullock that is looked for in vain in the more complicated type of the two goats.
The blood of the bullock is brought into the holiest part sprinkled upon the mercy-seat, part before it; then the first goat having been killed, its blood also is brought in to "make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel." In point of fact, as we know, when we come to the reality of atonement by the Lord Jesus, all was contained in His one and only sacrifice. Particular emphasis is laid on the fact that there was no man present; it was all a question between God and the high priest for sin. After this it is said, "And he shall go out unto the altar that is before Jehovah, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: and Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat into the wilderness."
There was nothing at all analogous to this in the bullock for Aaron and his house where we found the representation of Christ's work for the heavenly people. Mark the difference. In their case all was settled in the presence of God. There was nothing more needed. The blood was carried straight into the sanctuary, and all was closed. Undoubtedly a most important inference is intended by the coming out of the high priest, when there ensues the dealing with the other goat, the substantial result of which I deny not to us, viewed as individuals, sinners, in this world; but in the precision of the type, as far as our full place is concerned, it does not directly set forth what is done for the priestly family. This is exceedingly observable. We have to do with the work of Christ as measured by God Himself in the sanctuary. The divine estimate of it all is the ground of our perfect peace with God; and how blessed thus to rest on what God has found in the precious blood of Jesus! of Jesus going straightway, we may say, after having offered up Himself upon the cross, into the presence of God. It is not denied that for peculiar and important purposes there was a delay of forty days, in which He showed Himself here below. This was necessary, according to the wisdom of God, for reasons of great moment. But on the ground of His work He goes up into the presence of God and there stands or rather sits down, God Himself in His own heavenly light and glory giving us the full value of what He has found in the cross of Jesus.
There is a marked difference when we come to Israel. There it is not put in the same way. And why? Because of the prominence given to their transgressions. Having been put under law in a sense which was never true of the Gentiles, the law brought out the transgressions of those that were under it, and there the mercy of God provides a special means for comforting them in their necessary trouble of conscience. A specific assurance was given in His pity where their transgressions were made so patent. The Christian learns in short what his guilt was, and the inbred evil of his nature, by the infiniteness of Christ's sacrifice, the glory of His person, and the place into which He has now entered in the presence of God. Of the perfectness of the work for us, these are the great evidences; but to the Israelite there is the type of something else. The high priest goes forth, and publicly stands with a living goat before him, upon the head of which he confesses definitely and distinctly the sins of the children of Israel. They will need it. The special position of Israel, in particular their having to do with the law of God, accounts for the difference. Our place is most evidently that of men who walk by faith and not by sight. In Israel's case the goat which had the sins thus articulately confessed upon it goes away, and bears them far away from the people into a land not inhabited. I do not think the idea here has any link with the resurrection, any more than with heaven which is far from being a desert which none inhabit. It is merely a connected fact which refers to our Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross: only that on one side of it He suffers as bearing our judgment from God, and on the other side there is the full bearing away of the sins of man, of course more particularly of Israel. For the Christian believer all is summed up in Christ having borne our judgment, then going in before God; as here the high priest carries the blood into the holiest of all.
Our portion is where Christ is. It is there that we must in spirit follow Him; The whole of Christianity is bound up with what is transacted within the veil. This is what is peculiar to us as Christians; so that, if we find our true place, it must be in Him who goes into the presence of God. It is not so with the people of Israel. They yet anxiously await His coming out, and when He does appear, they will have the comfort then, and not before, of knowing that their sins are all completely borne away; whereas we need wait for nothing. On the ground of His sacrifice, as estimated of God and made known by His Spirit while Christ is within the veil, we draw near where He is. We know that His standing in the presence of God is the best of all evidence to prove how perfectly our sins are gone. If there were a question of any single one remaining, how could He rest in the presence of God? There He is, the man that bore our sins, but He is now seated at the right hand of God. Consequently the demonstration to us that our sins are gone is not some fresh action. There is for us no distinctive bearing of our iniquities confessed on the scape-goat. Those who believe without seeing do not ought not to require this, whereas to the children of Israel it is expressly given. They will need all possible comfort. Accordingly we find in the prophets there is that which answers to this type, when, if the Lord's appearing in glory will set all their sins, as it were, before their eyes, at the same time there will be the fullest conviction wrought in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, that the sins, though thus brought before them, are borne for ever away. This may serve to make somewhat plainer the difference between Israel's destiny and what concerns Aaron and his house in the one bullock that was offered for them; as it seems to be the reason why in the types of the sacrifices for the priests and the people there is an undeniable distinction.
Another thing may be observed. There is care taken to show that the high priest made an atonement for the holy place, and for the tabernacle of the congregation. For this we are not left to our own thoughts. The word of God is plain that, when our Lord Jesus effected reconciliation, it was not only for those that believed but for the universe of God for all things in heaven and on earth. This is clearly what is represented by it.
Further, observe the beauty of the type in another respect. Although in point of fact what was set forth by the two goats did take place in the offering of Christ, nevertheless the bringing forward of the scape-goat, after the high priest leaves the sanctuary, seems not obscurely to indicate that the application would be after the whole business of what was represented by Aaron and his house is completely over. The Christian follows the Lord into the antitypical sanctuary into heaven itself; and then, when He comes out, Israel will learn the blessed truth to which they are now so blind. They will know that on His cross atonement was made for their sins, completely borne away, but borne away by the One that shed His blood before it was a question of Christianity at all on earth; for I speak not of divine counsels.
Consequently this chapter has an immense comprehensiveness of meaning; and that which might seem irregular in its parts is most explicable when we come to leave room for the various dispensational dealings of God. It involves a certain difficulty at first sight, which is very often the case. The most obvious meaning is rarely the true one; but when the truth is once seen, it commends itself to the heart and conscience by its self-evidencing force, simplicity, and harmony with other truth.
Afterwards follow certain communications in the rest of the book grounded on the atonement.
Thus, in the next chapter (Leviticus 17:1-16) we have a very serious and solemn injunction, spoken to Moses in the first instance, but set forth in a very comprehensive manner. "Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them; This is the thing which Jehovah hath commanded." A most jealous care as to blood was insisted on. The reason of this is given: "The life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar, to make an atonement for your soul; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul."* It is clear that this is the deep truth which lay under all the ceremonies of the day of atonement. It was an ancient requirement, pressed in Noah's day, when death first furnished food for man, and now bound up with man's ordinary life of every day. Whatever may be the blessedness of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ for God and heaven whatever our own satisfaction and rest and joy in looking through it to eternal hopes we deprive ourselves of much, if we separate it from our work-a-day life and common-place duties. Undoubtedly it has an efficacy which brings us into the presence of God. There is nothing that we ever can have by and by which, in a certain sense, exceeds in moral depth what we are brought into now by faith; but at the same time we have to bear in mind this other aspect of it that is, namely, the way in which it mingles itself, and is intended to mingle itself, with everything that comes across us from day to day. It ought not to be apart in daily scenes and among men. Take for instance the commonest matter of our daily food and raiment. Ought we to exempt from Christ any one matter of our personal or relative life, or any one earthly duty? Be assured it is our joy and privilege to share all with Him. I am sure it is also our duty that whatever we do we should do in His name. Nor can we do aught in His name except as having before our souls that wonderful work which accounts for every blessing which God has given us even now.
*In verse 11 the general principle is elated. The literal rendering seems to be this: "For the life (soul) is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to atone for your souls; for the Mood with (through) the life (soul) atones." The blood had this expiating value in the type as the expression of the life or soul given up to God for the offerer, and this of course judicially, not in a simply moral way, which falls rather under the minchah or meat-offering.
Hence it was then that God would not permit the life of any creature that was needful for the food of His people to be taken, unless there was the witness of that which had its most solemn testimony on the great day of atonement. But this was not enough. Every day and every day's wants were to witness the same truth of God, to render the same confession of man. This is the reason, it appears to me, why we have the ordinance of the blood following the great atonement-day; and most properly after it, and not before it. That is to say, we have the truth in its deepest and highest reaches? before we are enabled to estimate it in its common and ordinary application. The blood shed is the witness that sin is in the world. In the first state of things no such thing was allowed. Before sin came into the world there was no question of blood. Directly after sin entered among men, we hear of life offered, of sacrifices; but man was not permitted to touch the blood, even when after the flood he might eat of animals. Blood was then as always sacred to God and forbidden to man on every ground of nature or of law.
And this gives amazing force to the wonderful difference in which redemption places the believer; for now (and how startling it must have been to a Jew to hear it!) "except ye eat the flesh, and drink the blood of the Son of man, ye have no life in you." No doubt the one was a literal injunction, whilst the other was an immense spiritual truth. At the same time the Lord could have chosen some other form for expressing that truth, unless there had been particular emphasis laid on the very figure of what was most repulsive to a Jew's mind according to the law. So thorough was the change that now He enjoins what would have been before the greatest sin. Except one eats the flesh and drinks the blood of the Son of man, there is no life. The sign of His death yields life to us, and is indispensably needful To have life one must drink that which was due peremptorily, exclusively, to God the judge of sin. But now contrariwise Christ has changed all for us. The very blood that it would have been most of all criminal before to touch or taste must now emphatically be drunk by us. Hence the standing testimony to the work of Christ the Christian beholds, as we know, in the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper. Therein the very same image is ever recurring. We eat His body and drink His blood.
In Leviticus 18:1-30 the people being treated now as a holy people, everything that was contrary to the order of God in nature is here strictly and solemnly prohibited. It is important to hold the same principle always. God does not absolve from that which offends His natural order. Grace may bring us into a higher place, where we do not use our liberty as to nature; but God habitually maintains His own order there; and so should we. Grace, I repeat, may withdraw one from the operation of it because of a higher call, as for instance in the service of God. We see this in the case of Paul himself; nevertheless was there any one who more firmly and distinctly held fast the wisdom, the propriety, the holiness of God's order in nature, than that man who through grace had been lifted above it? Hence we have simply the prohibition of what was contrary to God's will here below. Neither Egypt nor Canaan must regulate the practice of Israel: He who spoke to them was Jehovah their God, who, as He laid down the broadest principles, knew how to descend into the smallest details which concerned His people.
And let me take the opportunity of remarking another thing: the chief means by which the devil brings in what is so offensive is by high pretensions, which affect to slight the order of God. This ordinarily is the precursor of an outrage on holiness, as a little experience will prove.
It is beautiful to trace the unbending authority of revelation. Moses was inspired to interdict such a marriage as that of Abraham and Sarah, to speak of no more. There is no apology for the past, though of course the guilt would have been aggravated for the future.
In Leviticus 19:1-37 we have again the same principle, though now in its positive form. "Ye shall be holy," it is said; and this is founded on a very precious reason: "for I, Jehovah your Elohim, am holy." "Ye shall fear every man his mother and his father," beginning with the one that might naturally be somewhat less held in awe, and bringing her unexpectedly for this very reason into special prominence. Not the smallest change occurs in the word of God, whilst having some ground of divine wisdom and beauty as its purpose and its sanction. The precepts here given do not call for any particular delay. Let us never fail to bear in mind, for the principle holds good everywhere, that holiness is and must be according to the relationship in which one stands. Hence the character of holiness varies according to our place. Here it was a people in the flesh, and accordingly the various requirements of God were suitable to their place. Our condition is altogether different. We "are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in us." Christ has Himself brought us into a heavenly position. This is the meaning of what He says in John 17:1-26: "For their sakes I sanctify myself." Not as if there ever was or could be the smallest thought of evil in Christ's nature, or in any of His ways, I need nor say; nor as if He were here thinking of the mighty work of redemption by which He has set us apart to God. This is not its meaning; but the place that He has taken according to the dignity of His person and the results of His work for us His place in Leaven, that He might be there as man in that new scene not only lifted up from the earth, but in the glory of God above, and consequently stamping a heavenly character upon us who know Him there. It is well to make this remark, because Christian holiness is bound up with the place where we know Christ now, when we come to look at it in its full character according to God's mind.
In Leviticus 20:1-27 we have the same thing maintained, with a strong caution against all that was inconsistent with God's moral ways, and this in every kind of natural relationship, or indeed what might be unnatural. It is mainly in view of the enormities practised by the Canaanites.
Leviticus 21:1-24 brings in something more special. There the word concerns the priests, the sons of Aaron; and we learn the important principle in it, that what might be quite lawful in an Israelite is excluded from a priest. The reason is of the greatest interest. The whole book is founded on access to God. It begins with this, and goes through with it. Everything is measured according to the tabernacle of witness between God and His people. It is a question here of approaching God in His sanctuary, and of its effects. So here we have those who enjoy the privilege of drawing near to God as far as it was permitted under law. The effect of this is not merely that they were not allowed the excitements which were admissible in an ordinary Israelite, as we learnt inLeviticus 10:1-20; Leviticus 10:1-20; but they may not know the indulgence of sorrow for the nearest dead. Thus it is said: "There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people; but for his kin that is near unto him, that is, for his mother, and for his father, and for his son, and for his daughter, and for his brother, and for his sister a virgin, that is nigh unto him, which hath had no husband; for her may he be defiled. But he shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself."
Thus a number of different regulations are laid down which are all in view of this that he who enjoys nearness to God must have his conduct in every particular affected and governed by that master privilege. How sweet and cheering for those who stand in a relationship of grace, not law! At the same time, let us not forget its extreme seriousness; for what the Jew had only in show we have in divine reality. It is impossible to be a Christian without having a nearness to God that is measured by Christ Himself. When He was here, He always walked in this conscious intimacy with His God and Father. He had it no doubt in absolute perfection according to the glory of His person; so that of Him alone it could be said, "The Son of man who is in heaven." But it was morally true also of the Lord Jesus as He walked here below; and what was true of Him alone personally I mean true as a matter of fact by the power of the Spirit in Him morally is now our very place, as far as it is possible to be given to a creature. Redemption has brought us to it, and the Holy Spirit seals us in it. We are brought to God; and the consequence of this is, that it goes far beyond the setting aside of what is wrong and what is evil now. We are never right unless we judge things around us that might be quite lawful and legitimate otherwise; the one question for us is, how do they suit a man who is brought to God? Unless we bring in this, we shall find ourselves continually entangled in the conventionalities of men, or in what is possibly even baser the mere traditions of a corrupted Christendom on the eve of its judgment.
In Leviticus 22:1-33 we have this continued, not so much as to matters of conduct, but as to questions of a blemish in some form or another. Jehovah was more than ever jealous of the personal state and household of the priests.
Leviticus 23:1-44 calls for a fuller notice. Here we are on the instructive theme of the feasts of Jehovah the displays of His ways from first to last with His people. First and foremost the Spirit of God brings in here, as at the beginning of the Bible after His work was done, the rest of God. There is nothing that man so little understands. It will be strange perhaps to many here to know that what the wisdom of this world counts happiness is the unrest of change the miserable proof that man is fallen and far from God. Yet it is the fact that man so defines his own pleasure the shifting to which a burdened conscience has recourse in order to lose the sense of what it has lost through sin. For God and His children all is different. The very first word He speaks is the pledge of that rest which He Himself first instituted at the beginning, and into which He will bring His people at the end. This He would impress on their souls, and give them ever to have it before them. He deigns to think of us, and to give us to share rest with Himself; but that rest will be His rest. He will have wrought for it, and will finally bring us into it.
This then was what was represented by the sabbath-day, and the reason why it was put in the first instance. Indeed there is no truth, one may say, more important, as far as these facts are concerned; and no doubt the tendency in man to lose sight of it was one ground why it was the only feast that was always recurring. The sense of need would make the passover felt; but the busy activities of the world demanded special means to keep before the people the rest of God. This done, God gives us a fresh beginning I have no doubt with divine wisdom after the sabbath-day has been mentioned: "These are the feasts of Jehovah." In a certain sense the Sabbath is one of these feasts, but in another it may be viewed apart. We have looked at the first of them.
Now in those that were strict feasts, which occurred once in the year, the passover necessarily has a fundamental place. The reason is manifest. It is the well known sign of the death of our Lord Jesus. "In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is Jehovah's passover." Immediately connected with it is the feast of unleavened bread; that is, purity according to Christ, where the leaven of man's nature cannot be allowed; and this too through the whole circle of man's day here below. "Seven days," as it is said, "Ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Jehovah seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein." Then comes another and a very distinct statement of the Spirit of God, not exactly a feast, but what was essential to the next feast. "And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest unto the priest: and he shall wave the sheaf before Jehovah, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath" the evident type of our Lord's resurrection. On the very day that our Saviour died on the cross the Jews kept the passover. There are none who have made greater difficulties than those who have written most on the subject; but the reason is that they almost invariably bring in western notions of time, instead of taking their stand upon time as God speaks of it to His ancient people. In short they count days from sunrise to sunset. Such is not the scriptural way. On the one hand our Lord did Himself eat the passover on the regular day. It is not true that it was a different day. He eat the passover on the day prescribed by the law. On the other hand even the Jews that had played their part in seizing the Lord with a view to His crucifixion, according to Jewish reckoning eat the passover on the very same day. Though it was our next morning, it was their same day. Christ died before that day was over. If we hear the law, all these three facts which were severed by a considerable length of time really happened on one and the same day according to God's method of counting the day.
Similar difficulties have been made about the resurrection, it may just be observed in passing. It is only noticed in order to help the Christian in reading God's word. The truth is that the subject has been confused by the very men who ought to be a help. There are none who have more embroiled the subject than the commentators. It would be hard to name a single one that has rightly used the light of the scriptures on this point. To me this seems humiliating; for the true solution lies on the surface of scripture both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. What we need is more thorough confidence in the unerring word of God, all of which if read in simple faith will be found to convey nothing but light.
Our Lord then died on the due day according to the passover regulations. So He rose on the first day after the sabbath, when the priest waved the sheaf of corn that had been cast into the ground and died and had sprung up again. Christ was as much the waved sheaf as the paschal lamb. In this case you will observe that, when it was offered, there was a lamb without blemish for a burnt-offering, and a meat-offering of two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto Jehovah for a sweet savour, with its appropriate drink-offering but nothing more: there was no sin-offering. Whenever Christ appears in that which is brought before us, there is none required, He Himself in fact being the true sin-offering for others. The sheaf of first-fruits became thus a type of Him who knew no sin. It was Christ risen from the dead, just as the passover pointed to His death. "And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings."
This day becomes the point of departure from which to reckon the morrow after the sabbath; as it is said, "Ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave-offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days." And then comes another type of great significance: "And ye shall offer a new meat-offering unto Jehovah." What is the meaning of this? Perhaps there is scarce one here present who does not know, by the clear light of the New Testament, that it was Pentecost. The new meat-offering on that day ought to call for few words of explanation, not because it lacks interest, but because we at least, all the children of God, ought to know its bearing well. It is the beautiful type, not of Christ, but of those that are Christ's, of those called according to that name which was given to Himself, the true sheaf of first-fruits with its burnt-offering and meat-offering and drink-offering. In it there could be no question of defilement; but in the first-fruits which followed fifty days after, when the new meat-offering was offered, another provision tells its own tale: "Ye shall bring out of your habitation two wave-loaves." "The law made nothing perfect." It is not the complete figure of the church, nor could be; nor is there any adequate setting forth of its unity: still there is a sufficient testimony to those that compose the church; and we must always make this distinction in looking at these types. The two wave-loaves may possibly indeed refer to the two houses of Israel, out of which were called such as should be saved, and in an ulterior sense perhaps to Jew and Gentile. At any rate there was no proper sign of that which is so characteristic a feature of the church, namely, the one body of an exalted and heavenly Head. This could not yet come into view. But the two wave-loaves of two tenth deals were to be brought out of their habitation; they were to be of fine Hour, but expressly baken with leaven a surprising feature when we bear in mind Leviticus 2:1-16; and the more as they are said also to be the first-fruits unto Jehovah.
What was true of Christ is true also of those that are Christ's. They were first-fruits to Jehovah. But then there was this difference, that as they were baken with leaven to show the evil still existing in the nature of those that compose the Christian body, so there is the need of a sin-offering to put away that evil, and confess withal the sense and the judgment of it before God. "Ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt-offering unto Jehovah, with their meat-offering, and their drink-offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto Jehovah." There is the full witness of acceptance; but there is more than this. "Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin-offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace-offerings." There is the recognition of the evil that needed the sacrifice of Christ. At the same time there is the witness of the communion into which we are brought, founded upon the blessed sacrifice of Christ. This was not the case with what represented Christ. "And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the first-fruits for a wave-offering before the Lord, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to Jehovah for the priest. And ye shall proclaim on the self-same day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations."
It is much to be noted that here closes all reckoning of time from the sacrifice of Christ and that new meat-offering which followed it on the day of Pentecost. There is a break. Undoubtedly a quite new set of feasts begins afterwards, and a marked lapse now comes before us.
Thus the wisdom of God provided for a mighty work to be founded on the death and resurrection of Christ, setting forth, as far as this could be without revealing the mystery, a place of association with Christ of the nearest kind, though there is the most careful guard against confounding the Christian with Christ. Whatever may be his union with Him, still there is care to hold up the unsullied purity of Christ. The Christian has Him for his life, as we know; but there is the most distinct confession that his nature needs the sacrifice for sin to meet it.
Then follows, it is true, a little glance at the harvest before the new course. This is brought forward in a remarkably mysterious way. "And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor and to the stranger: I am Jehovah your God." All this is left with comparative, and I believe with purposed, vagueness. There will be a peculiar testimony of God in the end of the age. The heavenly people will be taken into the garner, but there will be a remnant in the field left who will be really of Himself. The gleanings are left, as it is said here, for the poor and the stranger. The Lord will maintain His testimony even in the darkest times, and in the most peculiar way. This however is lightly passed over, because it does not belong to the properly economic dealings of God.
The recommencement is very significantly set forth by a new beginning in verse 23: "And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, In the seventh month." Here we come down to the closing scene, as far as the feasts could represent it. "In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation." Clearly it is a fresh testimony, and a loud summons goes forth, sounds unheard before. It is no longer a sheaf waved before Jehovah, but the attention of men is drawn in a most striking manner. The public dealings of God for the earth now openly begin. Though Jesus was presented to man's responsibility, God knew perfectly that the offer of the kingdom in His person as Messiah would break down through the unbelief of man; and nothing shows more clearly than these types how well it was known all along. Man never surprises God; nor is there any after-thought on His part. All was known and settled beforehand, while man thoroughly manifests what he is. How the light will burst on Israel when their eyes are opened to it in the day that is coming! How they will beat their breasts in amazement and sorrow for their blindness of unbelief! God will work in their consciences, and they will bow at length to the grace of their glorified Lord. They will sorrow indeed, but it will not be mere unavailing sorrow; it will be holy gracious sorrow, not without shame as far as they are concerned; but none the less will there be the simple enjoyment of the mercy of God toward their souls. In the seventh month then, and on the first day of it, there is the feast of trumpets. No servile work again is to be done, "but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Jehovah." And then we are told "On the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement" that very day which was brought before us already in all its solitary excellence and glory, both in its connection with us and also with Israel. (Leviticus 16:1-34) But here we have it in sole connection with the earthly people. For the time is now come for man, the Jew, to have his sins covered before God; and therefore, as we are told, "there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto Jehovah. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day," etc.
Thus we find two great truths to which prominence is given. It is a day when God will bring His people into a real divinely-taught knowledge of the work of expiation for their sins the death of Christ; but for this reason two things are coupled with it: they judge themselves, taking the place of sinners on the day which is the witness of their sins for ever gone. Sense of grace in redemption, which puts away our sins, is the best, truest, and only trustworthy means of making our sins really felt. When it is not so, it is an abominable abuse of the grace of our God and of the work of Christ. It was never done to make us judge sin lightly, but to enable us to look at sin, and hate sin, as God does not meaning of course according to His depth of holiness, but in our measure on the same principle. And we can afford to do it, inasmuch as Christ has taken all its consequences upon Himself, and has borne it away from us as a matter of eternal judgment.
But there is a second element, besides this moral judgment of self, which is the necessary working of the Spirit of God in every one to whom the atonement of Christ is truly applied. "And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people." There was enough and to spare of work for other days; but for this day there must be none. Man has absolutely no part in the task. None but the Saviour can work for it, and He in suffering for us. "Ye shall do no work in that same day; for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before Jehovah your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people." The soul that presumes to rest on grace without self-condemnation because of its sins before God is trifling with Him, and has not yet learnt to hate its unholiness as at thorough issue with God's own character And again the soul that presumes to work shows its presumption in putting itself, so to speak, on a level with Christ and God Himself; for the work which alone suffices as a basis for atonement must be done before God by One who is God's own fellow.
On the fifteenth day of the same month begins the final festival of the Jewish year the feast of tabernacles. This does not call for any considerable length of remark. It was the shadow of coming glory, but presented in a singular manner, especially in Leviticus. "The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto Jehovah. On the first day shall be an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord; on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you, and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Jehovah. It is a solemn assembly, and ye shall do no servile work therein." God thus shows us by this remarkable introduction of the eighth day here the connection of the earthly blessing with the heavenly glory of resurrection. Resurrection points to heaven, and can never satisfy itself except in heavenly places; and therefore a link is here intimated with glory on high, whilst there is the fullest possible recognition of a day of rest and blessedness for the earth and the Jewish people. As we are told here in the latter part of it, they were all to keep this feast with gladness and joy. "Ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees and willows of the brook, and ye shall rejoice before Jehovah your God seven days." The eighth day is evidently brought in in a mysterious way not now pointing to those who may be a testimony for God where all seemed to be removed from the earth, as we saw in the notice of the harvest at the end; but now, when we have the fulness of the witness of glory here below, this finger, so to speak, points upward, showing that in some way not developed in this chapter there will be the connection of the resurrection and heavenly glory with the day of Jehovah for the earth. We understand it now from the New Testament, where all is clearly brought out. In point of fact the testimony of the New Testament is fullest on that which is but an added circumstance here. In short our proper hope is in the heavens; and accordingly the New Testament makes this the prominent truth, as it was according to the wisdom of God it should be. But for the earthly people we find the prominent place given to the earthly part of it, although the heavenly part is not forgotten
In Leviticus 24:1-23 injunctions and circumstances are introduced in a very peculiar manner. First a command is given to the children of Israel to give "pure oil-olive beaten for the light." This was to be ordered by the high priest, so that there should always be a candlestick burning before Jehovah continually. Along with this there was to be the keeping up of the witness of Israel after the flesh, though not without Christ and the fragrance of His grace before God. "And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before Jehovah. And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto Jehovah. Every sabbath he shall set it in order before Jehovah continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant." This was to be Aaron's food. Thus we have provision that there shall be always a testimony, although there may be an interruption, as we know alas! there has been in the dispensations of God. Still God will infallibly maintain what is suitable to His own character; and, as we know too, a heavenly testimony is precisely what comes in when the course of the earthly economy has been broken. Thus, although this might seem to be strangely brought in here, its wisdom, I think, will be apparent to any reflecting mind. The great High Priest keeps up the light during the long night of Israel's history.
At the same time we have a contrasted fact: "And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel: and this son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp;" and in the strife he blasphemed the name [of Jehovah]. This fact, I am persuaded, is purposely preserved along with the former. Israel themselves as a whole have fallen under this dreadful curse. Therefore what might seem to be a singular connection, more particularly after the feasts of Jehovah, exactly suits the situation. That is, we have the solemn fact that the people, who ought to have been the means of blessing to all others, have themselves passed under the curse, and been guilty, in the most painful form, of blaspheming "the name." We know how this has been; we know how they treated Him who is the Word of God and declared the Father, who was and is Jehovah Himself. We know well how Israel, yielding to thoughts of the world (as it is said here, the son of an Israelitish woman whose father was an Egyptian), having fallen thoroughly a prey to carnal wisdom as to the Messiah, were guilty of rejecting God in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, and of blaspheming the name. Accordingly they have fallen under the curse, which would be final but for the grace of God, who knows how to meet the most desperate case. But indeed, as far as regards the mass of the nation, that judgment is definitive. It is the remnant that will become a strong nation in the day that is at hand. On the apostates wrath will come to the uttermost.
The judgment of this evil doer brings in some necessary distinctions, and the solemn truth of retribution is added as closing the rest of the chapter. Jew or stranger, the guilty in their midst must alike suffer.
In Leviticus 25:1-55 another trait is laid down to complete the picture; that is, the regulation of the principle of the sabbath, not merely for the people, but for the land; not only a sabbatical year, but the full jubilee all on the same present principle of a sabbath.* Accordingly then this chapter brings in a most blessed privilege under the hand of the God of goodness, but a miserable thing when man meddles. The neglect of the sabbath not only in its weekly form, but on a larger scale for the land was indicated of God as a matter of fact in the history of the chosen people.
*Even Ewald (spite of his ingenious folly of the Elohist, junior Elohist, Jehovist and redactor, not to speak of the Deuteronomist,) is struck with the constant recurrence of the septenary numbers in various forms, days, weeks, months, and years, throughout the law as a strong indication that the whole system of its times and seasons was the product of one mind. The truth is that it pervades the Hebrew Scriptures from Genesis to Daniel, in whose prophecy (Daniel 9:1-27) we have the same principle in another and original shape. And this is the more striking, because there was so thorough a change from the pastoral character of the wandering fathers to the agricultural connection of the feasts when fully celebrated by the sons of Israel in Canaan, after they had been impressed by God in the times of the legislator with a profoundly historical stamp, the shadow of good things to come. That one mind could be none less than divine. May we be willing to unlearn in order to learn!
What is the result in God's hand? Supposing by any iniquity the land passed from those to whom God assigned it, the jubilee was God's principle for preserving His own rights intact. For in truth Israel were but tenants; Jehovah was the landlord. Jehovah therefore retains the earth in His own possession. "And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession." Whatever troubles, whatever sorrows, whatever sins might alienate the land from those that were His tenants there, the jubilee year rectifies all. The land must revert to the landlord. He was perfectly entitled to it, and surely would maintain His own right for the blessing of His own people. Such is ever the way of grace. Thus we see that righteousness, so terrible a word to guilty man, when wielded by divine grace becomes the only hope for the ruined. "Grace," as everywhere, "reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ." So it is for us who believe in Jesus; but for them it will be found in the vindication of what God promised, when they had sinned away the promises as far as man could. God will maintain them in His mercy, and will use them so for the people in the future day of glory.
The law of jubilee is a remarkable instance of the bearing of Jewish ordinances on moral conduct. Thus a Jew might take advantage of it to exact a price for his land out of proportion to its value, which depended on distance from the fiftieth year. Hence it is written "And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour's hand, ye shall not oppress one another: according to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee: according to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee. Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am Jehovah your God." Sale or purchase they were bound to regulate by this principle.
To the Christian the coming of the Lord is always at hand, and he, if faithful, will measure all according to that standard. So says the apostle, "the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not using it for themselves;* for the fashion of this world passeth away." If the treasures and prizes of the earth will be worthless in that day, the hope of it burning brightly in the heart gives us present victory; for this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. I grant that there is a still deeper and more searching power in keeping Him before us who makes that day to be what it is; but He Himself has marked the danger of saying in our heart "The Lord delayeth his coming."
*Or "not using it in full." It is not "abusing" the world which would be παραχρώμενοι , whereas here it is κάταχρώμενοι , using it for oneself, not for the Lord.
We cannot then but love the appearing of the Lord Jesus when He will bring in deliverance to man and creation from their long and groaning slavery under Satan's power and the blighting effects of the curse. For the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. We shall be manifested in glory along with Him, and shall enjoy that mighty and blessed change over the face of the universe to the praise of His name and the honour of the God who sent Him, the Second Man.
Meanwhile the Jew need not be troubled, any more than the Christian now, like Gentiles who know not God. "Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety. And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety. And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store. The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourner with me. And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land." What matters the difficulty if God is the guarantee?
It is of the deepest interest to notice how compassionately God in the rest of the chapter (verses Leviticus 25:25-55) dwells on all possible vicissitudes of Israel in distress. There is first the brother waxen poor, who sold away some of his possession (verse Leviticus 25:25 et seqq.); next, the brother waxen poor, whose hand is lowered and needed strengthening or relief (verse Leviticus 25:35 et seqq.); then the poor brother who sold himself either to a Jew (verse Leviticus 25:39 et seqq.) or to a stranger (verse Leviticus 25:47 et seqq.) with his claim in Jehovah's name on his brethren in each respective case. May we never forget the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who, though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich! Assuredly, if we follow thus in His steps, not only shall we have joy and refreshment in the Lord now, but He will repay in that day.
Leviticus 26:1-46 draws out in a solemn manner, not in the form of type now, but of direct statement, the prophetic history of the people,* and warns of the direct effect of their being tried on the ground of their own responsibility, which is the principle of law. What a contrast, save in the close, with the jubilee! I shall not of course enter on its details. Suffice it to say that God does not close this searching word of His without the remembrance of His covenant, as it is said, with Jacob, and His covenant with Isaac, and His covenant with Abraham. He speaks here in this unusually emphatic way of His covenant with every one of them; so that even from His mouth, against whom they had so long and deeply sinned, there should be a threefold witness for His mercy in that day. "And I will," says He, "remember the land." Thus we see the connection with the chapter before, and how perfectly therefore a divine order is kept up even where our dullness hinders us often from perceiving it. "The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths" another link of the connection with what went before "while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their souls abhorred my statutes. And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am Jehovah their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am Jehovah." Thus God falls back on what He is Himself after He has fully detailed the sorrows that fell on the people because of what they were. But whatever may be the necessary changes in the government of God because of a people changing alas! merely from one form of evil and opinion to another, God, the immutable eternal God, who has given this special name to them God in His own unchangeableness will show them mercy when He comes whose right it is to reign.
*The characteristic infidelity of rationalism betrays itself in their anxious excision of every element manifestly divine. Thus, as it is one of their assumptions that there is no such thing us prophecy they must lower the age of such a chapter as Leviticus 26:1-46 to a date that would put the supposed writer (the pseudo-Moses) on the same level historically with the events he professes to predict. Such a ready imputation of imposture to the sacred writers is a gauge of their moral condition. People are apt to judge of others by themselves. The fact is that the close of the chapter is prophecy as yet unfulfilled, to which the Lord Jesus (Matthew 23:39) puts His seal, as well as the Holy Spirit by the apostle Paul. (Romans 11:26-31)
The last chapter (Leviticus 27:1-34) lets us know what will regulate in fact when that day comes. Little need be said now about it. For the most part it treats of the vow, as showing devotedness to the Lord. This may have various forms; namely, devotedness in person, in property, and in what was given up to the curse (e. g., in the case of their enemies devoted to destruction). The main point insisted on, and the only thing which it is necessary to mention in this cursory notice, is that all is brought under the priest first, but the priest subject to another, according to what in the chapter is called "thy estimation." Thus Moses acts as type of the Lord Jesus Christ in another quality, and not merely as priest. What that is cannot be doubted. In short, it is the Messiah the one like unto Moses, but incomparably greater than the legislator, when it will not be merely a royal son of David vindicating His claims to the land in favour of His own people, but Jehovah having the only worthy image of Himself and of His glory. That same blessed Jesus who once came down to accomplish atonement for them will then act as the Judge of all devotedness. He will then interfere in every question in His own perfect goodness and wisdom, maintaining the people not only according to righteousness, but according to the infinite mercy of God Himself for ever.