This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I started this on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed blogging from that book on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. Since then, I have begun adding material from his Bible commentaries. I also re-blog many of the old posts.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Leviticus 9:8-22

 "8 Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself. 9 And the sons of Aaron brought the blood unto him: and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar, and poured out the blood at the bottom of the altar: 10 But the fat, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver of the sin offering, he burnt upon the altar; as the LORD commanded Moses. 11 And the flesh and the hide he burnt with fire without the camp. 12 And he slew the burnt offering; and Aaron’s sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled round about upon the altar. 13 And they presented the burnt offering unto him, with the pieces thereof, and the head: and he burnt them upon the altar. 14 And he did wash the inwards and the legs, and burnt them upon the burnt offering on the altar. 15 And he brought the people’s offering, and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and slew it, and offered it for sin, as the first. 16 And he brought the burnt offering, and offered it according to the manner. 17 And he brought the meat offering, and took an handful thereof, and burnt it upon the altar, beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning. 18 He slew also the bullock and the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings, which was for the people: and Aaron’s sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled upon the altar round about, 19 And the fat of the bullock and of the ram, the rump, and that which covereth the inwards, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver: 20 And they put the fat upon the breasts, and he burnt the fat upon the altar: 21 And the breasts and the right shoulder Aaron waved for a wave offering before the LORD; as Moses commanded. 22 And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings." — Leviticus 9:8-22 KJV.


8. Aaron… slew — In person or by command.

9. The blood — See The Ceremonial Function of the Blood and Leviticus 7:2, note. Upon the horns of the altar — See Leviticus 4:7, note.

10. The fat — Suet. See notes on Leviticus 3:3, 17. Kidneys… caul — Leviticus 3:4, note.

11. Without the camp — Leviticus 4:12, note.

12. The burnt offering — After they had been brought into a state of acceptance with Jehovah the whole burnt offering, symbolizing entire consecration, was appropriate. See Leviticus 1:3, note, and The Order of the Sacrifices.

13. With the pieces — “Piece by piece,” (R.V.) See Leviticus 1:8, and Leviticus 8:18-21, notes.

14. The inwards and the legs — See Leviticus 1:9, note.


15. The people’s offering — This was offered in the proper order; first, the sin offering for the expiation of their sins, then the burnt offering, by which the people dedicated themselves to God, followed by the meat offering as a medium of communion, and the peace offering as the vehicle of their thanksgivings. Offered it for sin — Literally, as noted by various critics, He sinned it, or, He made it to sin. The sin offering was so identified with the sin for which it was to atone as to become itself the sinner, not actually but by imputation. The animal thus figuratively received upon its head the guilt of him who substituted its life for his own, and it was viewed and treated as a creature which was nothing but sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21, note.

16. The manner — “Ordinance,” (R.V.) The ritual of the altar prescribed in chaps. 1 and Leviticus 7:1-6.

17. Meat offering… burnt sacrifice — “The difference between the burnt offering and the meat offering was this: in the burnt offering the surrender of a life figured man’s duty to God; while fruits in the meat offering represented man’s duty to his neighbour.” — Jukes. For the time when the fire was actually applied to all the offerings of this chapter, see Concluding Note.

18. A sacrifice of peace offerings — This symbolized that fellowship which follows propitiation by the sin offering. The feasting of the people upon the peace offerings figures the communion of saints. Christ’s communion with the believer is thus expressed: “I will sup with him.”

19. Rump — See Leviticus 3:9, note.

21. Shoulder — “Thigh,” (R.V.) A wave offering — See Leviticus 7:30, note. As Moses commanded — The Seventy, the Samaritan, the Arabic, and the Targum of Onkelos all agree in another reading, “as Jehovah commanded Moses.” This, harmonizing as it does with verses 6, 7, and 10, is doubtless the true reading. Even in the present reading there is no danger of taking Moses for the ultimate source of authority, since he is always represented as the mouth of Jehovah. Exodus 4:12.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Leviticus 9:1-7 — Aaron's First Offering

"1 And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel; 2 And he said unto Aaron, Take thee a young calf for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the LORD. 3 And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak, saying, Take ye a kid of the goats for a sin offering; and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt offering; 4 Also a bullock and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the LORD; and a meat offering mingled with oil: for to day the LORD will appear unto you. 5 And they brought that which Moses commanded before the tabernacle of the congregation: and all the congregation drew near and stood before the LORD. 6 And Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commanded that ye should do: and the glory of the LORD shall appear unto you. 7 And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for thyself, and for the people: and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the LORD commanded." — Leviticus 9:1-7 KJV.


Moses, the illustrious Levite who had inducted Aaron and his sons into the priestly office, now commands them to perform its functions on the very day after their consecration, because the sins of the people were in pressing need of expiation. The superintendence of Moses is still continued, in order to rectify any mistake of these novitiates. See Leviticus 10:16-20. This chapter establishes the national worship in permanent form. It comprises commands by Moses, Aaron’s offerings for himself, those for the people, the priestly benediction, the outflashing glory, the consuming fire from Jehovah, and the shouts of the joyful worshippers.

1. On the eighth day — There are three eighth-day services in the Levitical law. The other two are the cleansing of the leper (Leviticus 14:10, 23) and the purification of a defiled Nazarite. (Numbers 6:10.) There are three such scenes in the Gospels — the transfiguration, (Luke 9:28,) the resurrection and manifestation on the first or eighth day of the week, and the second manifestation to all the apostles. John 20:19-26. The elders of Israel — At what period the transition occurred when the word elder acquired an official signification it is impossible to say. The earliest notice of the elders acting in concert as an organized body is in the time of the exode. Exodus 3:16. It is highly probable that Moses availed himself of an institution known as the senate, the γερουσια of the Seventy, which had been in existence ever since Israel had become a people. From the Hebrew זקן, elder, Dean Stanley derives the term sheik. As representatives of the people, the elders are sometimes put for the congregation. See Joshua xxiii, 2. They retained their position under all political changes, through the monarchy and captivity to the time of Christ, when they are noticed as a distinct body from the Sanhedrin, but always acting in conjunction with it and the other dominant classes. Matthew 26:59.

2. Calf for a sin offering — The Hebrew for calf also signifies calf image. Exodus 32:4. Thus Moses delicately reminds Aaron of the great sin which he had committed in making the golden calf, and teaches him that the animal which was the object of idolatrous worship among the Egyptians, as a symbol of the deity, is fit only for a sin offering to Jehovah, the Creator of all things. See chap. iv, Introductory. Without blemish — See Leviticus 1:3, note. Before the Lord — This was at the door of the tabernacle. Leviticus 1:3, note.

3. A kid of the goats — See Leviticus 23:19, note. A burnt offering — Chap. 1 and Leviticus 6:9, notes.

4. Peace offerings — Chaps. 3 and Leviticus 7:11-28, notes. Meat offering — Chaps. 2, and Leviticus 6:14-23, notes. “Meal offering,” (R.V.) For to-day the Lord will appear unto you — The term for contains the reason for all the sacrifices commanded in the preceding verses. Jehovah manifests himself only to those who obediently seek him in his ordinances. (Exodus 29:42, 43.) See also especially John 14:21. God can give to the believer an indubitable demonstration of his presence and favour without the manifestation of a visible form. The invisible God no man hath seen at any time; the only-begotten Son hath declared him. John 1:18. By reference to verses 6, 23 it appears that the promised manifestation is that of “the glory of Jehovah.” This was not constantly seen either by the people or by Moses. The sincere inquirer after God, who diligently gathers up and uses all his light, and follows un-hesitatingly wherever the truth leads, will attain an experimental and satisfactory assurance of the existence and forgiving grace of God in Jesus Christ. There is really no such thing as “honest scepticism.” Sacrifice, and Jehovah will appear. Obedience must precede the divine manifestation. See John 7:17. At the tomb of Lazarus Jesus said to Martha, “If thou wilt believe, thou shalt see the glory of God.” See John 11:40. The condition is essentially the same in both instances. Faith is the root of obedience; obedience is faith unfolded in action.

7. Make an atonement for thyself — After seven days of consecration τελείωσις — making perfect — Leviticus 8:11, note,) Aaron is not absolutely holy and perfect, but only an imperfect shadow of the High Priest “who is holy, harmless, undefiled, and made higher than the heavens.” “Only as one who had been himself atoned for could the high priest make atonement for others, on the received principle, An innocent man must come and make an atonement for the guilty; but the guilty may not come and make an atonement for the innocent.” — Delitzsch, Heb, 5:3. The person of the atoner must not be offensive to the Supreme Executor of the law. The high priest accompanied his sin offering with a threefold confession — the first for himself and his own family, the second for the priesthood in general, and the third for all Israel. The first was thus: “O Jehovah, do thou expiate the misdeeds, the crimes, and the sins wherewith I have done evil, and have sinned before thee, I and my house, as it is written in the law of Moses thy servant.” “On that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you; that ye may be clean from all your sins before Jehovah.” Leviticus 16:30. For the nature of the Old Testament atonement see Leviticus 1:4; 4:20, notes.


Monday, September 18, 2023

Sin, Infirmity & Atonement

The moral sense of mankind makes a distinction not in degree, but in kind, between forging a note, and falling asleep in a prayer meeting, or forgetting to keep a promise, or disproportioning food to exercise, or indulging too long in sleep, or having an impure dream, or a wandering thought in church, or treating a neighbor coldly under a misapprehension of his worthiness. The universal conscience discriminates between a sin and a weakness or an error.

Ethical writers insist that the moral sense of mankind pronounces innocent the inadvertent doer of an act wrong in itself. They declare that there is a broad distinction between wrong and guilty, on the one hand, and right and innocent, on the other; and that guilt always involves a knowledge of the wrong, and an intention to commit it. Hence, in the light of the moral philosophies filling our libraries and taught in our colleges, a sin of inadvertence or ignorance needs no expiation. But this is a superficial view.

Notwithstanding the broad distinction between infirmities and sins, in one respect they are alike, they both need the atonement. This is shown by human laws. So great are the interests entrusted to men in certain positions that severe penalties are attached to carelessness, as in the handling of poisons by physicians and apothecaries, the involuntary sleep of a weary sentinel at his post, or in the case of the bridge-tender who through a faulty time-keeper has the draw open when the express train arrives. These are infirmities of judgment or memory which men regard and punish as crimes. Now, what the exigencies of human society require for its safety in a few cases, the perfect moral government of God demands in all cases — satisfaction for involuntary sins. But there is a difference in God's favour. He always provides an atonement for such sins, and never executes sentence till the atonement has been rejected. Where the expiation cannot be known and applied he forbears to inflict the penalty. "The time of this ignorance God overlooked." Hence the law of God is more merciful than the statutes of men, which, in the cases specified, make no provision for escaping the punishment of involuntary offences. The objection which some have raised against the Divine Government for holding errors and inadvertencies as culpable and penal, falls to the ground when we find the first announcement of this accompanied by the institution of the sin-offering. See Lev. iv.

Though a well-meant mistake does not defile the conscience and bring into condemnation, nevertheless when discovered it demands a penitent confession and a presentation of the great sin-offering unto the God of absolute holiness. The refusal to do this after the sin-offering has been provided involves positive guilt. Says John Wesley:

Not only sin, properly so-called, that is, a voluntary transgression of a known law: but sin, improperly so-called, that is, an involuntary transgression of a divine law, known or unknown, needs the atoning blood. I believe there is no such perfection in this life as excludes these involuntary transgressions, which I apprehend to be naturally consequent on the ignorances and mistakes inseparable from mortality. Therefore, sinless perfection is a phrase I never use, lest I should seem to contradict myself. I believe a person filled with the love of God is still liable to involuntary transgressions.

Hence Charles Wesley sings —

Every moment, Lord, I want
The merit of Thy death.

In view of this truth it is eminently appropriate for the holiest soul on earth to say daily. "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." 

— From “Sins, Infirmities and the Atonement” Mile-stone Papers. (This comes at the end of the chapter.)

Friday, September 15, 2023

Don't Pray for the World?

QUESTION: Explain Christ's word's "I pray not for the world." (John 17:9).

ANSWER:  They are not to be understood as an absolute refusal to pray for the world which he came to redeem. In his last prayer, in full view of the cross upon which he would die on the morrow, he focalized his prayers upon the few who believed in him, whose faith would certainly fail unless supernaturally strengthened by divine power, when the Messiah King should yield to the powers of darkness, and die as a malefactor. Verse [9] must have reference to a world that was yet in alienation from him. Says Luther, "To pray for the world, and not to pray of the world, must both be right and good. Paul certainly was of the world when he persecuted and killed the Christians. Yet Stephen prayed for him. Christ also prays in like manner at the cross, Luke 23:34." His prayer for the world is that it may cease to be what it is; his prayer for believers is that they may be perfected in the love enkindled in them when they were born from above. For this chiefly his high-priestly prayer was made.

— From Steele's Answers pp. 11, 12.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Divorced Church Members

QUESTION: Should divorced persons who remarry while the party of the first marriage still lives, be admitted to the church?

ANSWER: Yes, the innocent party to a Scriptural divorce, or the truly penitent party to an unscriptural divorce. The church is for all who desire to flee from the wrath to come, as evinced by turning away from sin, doing all the good possible and attendance upon all the means of grace. The church is broad enough to receive penitent sinners of all sorts, but the pulpit is not.

— From Steele's Answers p. 11.

Leviticus 8:31-36 & Concluding Notes

 "And Moses said unto Aaron and to his sons, Boil the flesh at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and there eat it with the bread that is in the basket of consecrations, as I commanded, saying, Aaron and his sons shall eat it. And that which remaineth of the flesh and of the bread shall ye burn with fire. And ye shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation in seven days, until the days of your consecration be at an end: for seven days shall he consecrate you. As he hath done this day, so the LORD hath commanded to do, to make an atonement for you. Therefore shall ye abide at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation day and night seven days, and keep the charge of the LORD, that ye die not: for so I am commanded. So Aaron and his sons did all things which the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses." — Leviticus 8:31-36 KJV.

31, 32. Boil the flesh… eat… burn — In the peace offering the offerer and his friends were permitted to eat in a sacred banquet, and to burn with fire that which remained. Leviticus 7:15, note.

33. Seven days shall he consecrate you — For the significance of the “seven” see Leviticus 4:6, note. The number was not in the Hebrew conception perfect till it had been repeated seven times. Men are not permitted to go forth into the priesthood at a step, without preparation and without thought. On each of the seven days the sin offering was made, (Exodus 29:36;) it is not said whether or not the other two offerings and the anointing were to be repeated. The rabbins assume anointing on each day. See verse 11, note.

34. Atonement — See Leviticus 1:4, note. The consecration or perfecting of Jesus for the office of high priest included suffering (Hebrews 2:10) but not expiation. Hebrews 7:26.

35. Abide at the door of the tabernacle — The candidates were charged to remain within the sacred court during this probation. They could not enter the holy place or apartment of the priests because their consecration was not complete; they could not come in contact with unsanctified things without the enclosure, because their consecration was begun. “Here we have a fine type of Christ and his people feeding together upon the results of accomplished atonement. Aaron and his sons, having been anointed together on the ground of the shed blood, are here presented to our view as shut in within the precincts of the tabernacle seven days. A striking figure of the present position of Christ and his members during the entire period of this dispensation, shut in with God, and waiting for the manifestation of his glory.” See Leviticus 9:23. The charge of the Lord — This was the exact fulfilment of the commands found in Exodus 29. That ye die not — Obedience is the best preparation for service. The omission of any of the prescribed ceremonies, or the addition thereto of any human invention, would prove fatal. This strictness was designed to keep this important service free from any heathenish mixture. It was this verse that suggested to Charles Wesley that beautiful hymn now sung throughout Christendom,

“A charge to keep I have.”

For the peril attending the handling of sacred things see Numbers 4:18.


(1.) In the Pontificale or Ceremoniale Romanum nearly all the ritualism of this chapter is found prescribed for the consecration of a modern Romish priest or bishop. The superficial observer of such a pageant in a papal cathedral might pronounce the ceremonial eminently scriptural. It would be, if Christianity had an order of priests set apart to make atonement for the sins of the people. But the Gospel has but one Priest, who, having finished his sacrifice in the outer court of this world, has entered into the holy of holies above to continue and complete the work of his office. Since “by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are [being] sanctified,” there is no more priestly work to be done on the earth, unless we assent to the blasphemous dogma of the “holy sacrifice of the mass,” in which, by the touch of a possibly drunken or lecherous priest, the body and blood of Christ are created to be offered anew for the sins of those who partake thereof. An institution is not scriptural simply because it has scriptural forms if those forms be destitute of authority. Hence the mitre, the robe, the girdle, the ephod of the Aaronic priesthood, exhumed from the sepulchre of Judaism to disfigure the simplicity of the Gospel, are a stupendous anachronism in the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, and an execrable imposition upon ignorance and weak-mindedness. To wear Aaron’s mitre is not to have Aaron’s succession, but to practice a worthless and an unmeaning ceremony; it is to bid men look for the living among the dead, for our High Priest is in the holy place, and God now seeketh not this mount nor that, but true Christians to worship him in spirit and in truth.

(2.) The Targum of Palestine has a valuable suggestion respecting the anointing of the tabernacle and its furniture, and the sanctification of the priestly vestments by sprinkling oil and blood, that they might be cleansed from any fraud or violence by which the contributor obtained their material, and from any unwillingness on the part of the giver, or improper motives prompting the gift. Jehovah cannot receive the wages of iniquity. Hence, even when no sin is known to inhere in the methods by which the gift was obtained, or in the motives, the holiness of God required their sanctification from all possible impurity of this kind before they could be acceptably used. Under the Gospel, our purest charities need and receive the blood of sprinkling before they can come up as a memorial before God. Luke 17:10.

(3.) The consecrated character imparted to the family of Aaron by this imposing and seven times repeated ceremonial did not need renewing. It was a perpetual inheritance, transmitted from father to son through all the following centuries. We do not read of its repetition in the case of any individual priest of Aaronic lineage. But where the line of succession was broken by Jeroboam’s intrusion of the lowest of the people into the sacred office, we find intimation of the use of a ritual of consecration which, from the idolatrous character of that king, was probably of Egyptian origin. 2 Chronicles 13:9.

(4.) Moses, who in the dedication of the tabernacle and the consecration of the order of priests had acted as a high priest, now divests himself of this office, provisionally assumed, and transfers it to his brother and his sons forever. Once only in the language of a later period (Psalm 99:6) is the term כֹּהֵן (cohen), “priest,” applied to him, and even then it has reference to the extraordinary priestly functions discharged by him in the establishment of the Levitical ritual. The temporary priesthood of Moses was, like that of Melchizedek, απατωρ, αμητωρ, αγενεαλογητο͂ς, with no father nor mother nor genealogical record as the ground of his title. Hebrews 7:3.

(5.) According to the tradition of the Jews, the practice of anointing the high priest continued till the time of Josiah; then the holy anointing oil was hidden, and so lost. The succeeding high priests were consecrated only by investiture. See Leviticus 6:13.

(6.) “The selection and consecration of the high priest, the personal attributes and character required in the office, were all penetrated with a spiritual significance; as also were the places, instruments, robes, and offerings. As a natural and inevitable result, names, titles, figures, and symbolic phrases derived therefrom have been sown broadcast over the entire area of our religious literature. The most precious and significant names and official titles bestowed upon our blessed Lord came to us without modification from this source, as we learn from the epistle to the Hebrews.” — Bibliotheca Sacra.

(7.) Sceptics who aver that the Aaronic priesthood is a distorted copy of the Egyptian should note the following contrasts: (a) The Egyptian priests were a caste exempt from the civil law; the Hebrew priest, outside of his office, was a citizen in dress, and in all the duties of a layman he was subject to the same laws. (b) The Egyptian priests were a landed aristocracy, owning a third of the real estate of Egypt; the Hebrew priests were the tenants of a few cities, and they could never become rich in lands. (c) The Egyptian pontifex maximus was Pharaoh, the absolute monarch, and all the lower priests in some degree shared his authority; the Hebrew priests — Samuel and Eli excepted — were not allowed to exercise civil authority. (d) The Egyptian priests had an elaborate esoteric or secret theology, taught only to the initiated; the Hebrew priests were required diligently to teach the whole law to the people, any one of whom might become as learned and skilled a teacher as themselves. Chap. 10:11. (e) The Egyptians had many gods and as many orders of priests, each having a high priest; the Hebrews were monotheistic, with one order and one high priest. (f) The Egyptian priests were fed from the royal treasury; the Hebrew priests were dependent on the offerings of the people, which were precarious, and in times of religious decline, insufficient. (g) Kine, the chief sacrifice offered by the Hebrew priest, was to the Egyptian priest an object of his idolatrous worship. Leviticus 9:2.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Leviticus 8:14-30

"And he brought the bullock for the sin offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock for the sin offering. And he slew it; and Moses took the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar, and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it. And he took all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and Moses burned it upon the altar. But the bullock, and his hide, his flesh, and his dung, he burnt with fire without the camp; as the LORD commanded Moses. And he brought the ram for the burnt offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram. And he killed it; and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about. And he cut the ram into pieces; and Moses burnt the head, and the pieces, and the fat. And he washed the inwards and the legs in water; and Moses burnt the whole ram upon the altar: it was a burnt sacrifice for a sweet savour, and an offering made by fire unto the LORD; as the LORD commanded Moses. And he brought the other ram, the ram of consecration: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram. And he slew it; and Moses took of the blood of it, and put it upon the tip of Aaron’s right ear, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot. And he brought Aaron’s sons, and Moses put of the blood upon the tip of their right ear, and upon the thumbs of their right hands, and upon the great toes of their right feet: and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about. And he took the fat, and the rump, and all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and the right shoulder: And out of the basket of unleavened bread, that was before the LORD, he took one unleavened cake, and a cake of oiled bread, and one wafer, and put them on the fat, and upon the right shoulder: And he put all upon Aaron’s hands, and upon his sons’ hands, and waved them for a wave offering before the LORD. And Moses took them from off their hands, and burnt them on the altar upon the burnt offering: they were consecrations for a sweet savour: it is an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And Moses took the breast, and waved it for a wave offering before the LORD: for of the ram of consecration it was Moses’ part; as the LORD commanded Moses. And Moses took of the anointing oil, and of the blood which was upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon his sons’ garments with him; and sanctified Aaron, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him." — Leviticus 8:14-30 KJV.

14. Sin offering — See Leviticus 4:3, note, and concluding notes of chap. 4. Note the order of the sacrifices in this service of consecration; first, sin must be expiated, and, secondly, the surrender of self unto Jehovah must be set forth by the whole burnt offering; then the bread offering is presented, symbolizing joyful communion with the Lord through the fruits of holiness. See The Order of the Levitical SacrificesHands upon the head — See Leviticus 1:4, note.

15. Blood… horns — Leviticus 4:7, note. Purified the altar — The altar, the work of the hands of sinful men, is viewed as sinful. In verse 11 it is sanctified, and now it is expiated with blood. A holy life cannot be maintained on the earth without the blood of atonement being constantly sprinkled upon it. 1 John 1:7. Sanctified — The sanctification by oil is a setting apart, the blood sanctification is a thorough purgation of the very nature. To make reconciliation upon it — The Hebrew is capable of this construction. But precisely the same words in Leviticus 1:4, are rendered to make atonement for him. The personified altar needs an atonement as much as its imperfect minister.

18. Burnt offering — Leviticus 1:3, note. Laid their hands upon the head — This act cannot here signify the transmission of sin to the victim, for this had already been done in the sin offering. Verse 14. It is rather a typical ascription of glory to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. Whether the Hebrew confessed his sins, consecrated self, or gave thanks, he laid his hand upon the head of the victim. Thus, both in prayers and praises to God the Father, the believer lays his hand upon Jesus, the great Sacrifice. He is the medium through whom all acceptable worship is offered. “He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father.” See Leviticus 1:4, note.

19. And Moses sprinkled the blood —
In this consecration Moses performs all the functions of the priesthood. The first high priest was ordained by Moses as “mediator.” “In the history of the Church of Christ priests have often corrupted it, and laymen have often purified it. It is a melancholy fact that the great introducers of errors have not generally been the laity — they have had their share — but the priests, or the ministry, so called, have introduced far more errors, and said more subtle things to defend them, in one century, than all the laity have said for eighteen. The ministry of the Gospel is so very prone to magnify itself that it needs the diluting presence of other and resistant elements to keep it in order.”

21. In the sweet savour offerings the Hebrew came to present an offering which, as a sweet feast to God, was consumed upon his altar. In the sin offerings (verse 14) he came as a sinner, and his offering, as charged with sin, was cast out and burnt, not on the altar, but on the ground without the camp. Verse 17. In the one the offerer came as an accepted worshipper; in the other as a condemned sinner. Both parties may meet in Christ.

22. Consecration — This literally signifies filling; as meeting all requirements. Verses 27, 28; Numbers 3:3.

23. Blood… upon the tip of Aaron’s right ear — The consecration was not only general, but specific. The ear must be dedicated that it may be open to the divine voice; the hand and foot, that they may be efficient in sacred services. Eminent saints have practised self consecration by the enumeration of all their faculties and capacities in detail. See the Life of Dr. Payson.

“Welcome, welcome, dear Redeemer,
Welcome to this heart of mine;
Lord, I make a full surrender;
Every power and thought be thine,
Thine entirely, through eternal ages thine.”

25. The fat — The suet, Leviticus 3:3. The rump — The tail, Leviticus 3:9, note. The two kidneys — Leviticus 3:4, note. The burnt offering is evidently an object lesson inculcating the first great commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,” etc. Hence the enumeration of all the parts: the head as an emblem of the thoughts; the legs, an emblem of the walk; the kidneys and the inwards, the constant and familiar symbol of the affections. The meaning of the fat may not be quite so obvious, but it doubtless represents the energy not of one limb or faculty, but the general health and vigour of the whole. 

 26. Oiled bread — Here are all the elements of the מִנְחָה (mincha), meat offering, or meal offering, (R.V.,) except the frankincense. Leviticus 2:1.

27, 29. He put all upon Aaron’s hands — By this symbolism the priestly office was handed over to the candidates. Numbers 3:3, note. Wave offering — Leviticus 7:30, note. Moses’s part — The ram of consecration is treated as a peace offering. As Moses is acting in the capacity of a priest, the priestly portion belongs to him. This was the right shoulder. Leviticus 7:33, note.

30. The anointing oil — For its elements see Exodus 30:23, 24. These spices beautifully typify the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, which impart no acerbity of disposition, no acid tempers, but only gentle qualities and benevolent affections. And of the blood — Since both oil and blood prefigure, the first the consecration and the second the purifying of the soul, their union typifies the blending of the office of the atoning Saviour, who hath redeemed us by his blood, with that of the Holy Spirit, who transforms and sanctifies by his cleansing power. Hence, since under the Gospel all believers are dignified as priests, we are exhorted to “draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience,” by the blood of the Lamb, “and our bodies washed with pure water,” the symbol of purification by the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 10:22; see Leviticus 14:5, note. Sacrifice for sin alone does not suffice; there must be an inward cleansing by the Spirit. To pardon sin is to leave the house swept and garnished but unoccupied; to fill with the Holy Ghost is to put in a keeper. Upon Aaron, and upon his garments — The person and the garments were sprinkled to prefigure both inward and outward purification, holiness of heart and of life. When the blood and the oil could be connected together, then Aaron and his sons could be anointed and sanctified together. Thus Jesus set himself apart as a bleeding sacrifice for the purchase of the holy unction for all believers, made priests unto God. This explains John 17:19.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

The Consecration of the Aaronic Priest-hood: Leviticus 8:1-13

Jehovah having drawn near to his people by taking up his residence among them, now invites them to draw near unto him by the appointed sacrifices. But these must be offered in the manner which he has prescribed. This comprises a ritual so minute and elaborate that it requires for its proper performance the institution of a professional order. As sacrifices had existed before the promulgation of the Law so had priests, such as Melchizedek and Jethro, existed without the sanction of positive enactments. Now, however, for the first time, the priestly office is brought under the strict ordinance of law as a distinct order in the Hebrew commonwealth.

Since the patriarchs were accustomed to perform sacerdotal functions, Aaron, the great grandson of Levi, would naturally be the priest of his tribe. The consecration of this entire tribe to sacred duties would point out Aaron as the head of the hierarchy, the high priest of the nation. The last public act of Aaron in permitting the abomination of the golden calf, only a few days before, followed so soon by his consecration to the high priesthood, strikingly exemplifies the truth declared to Moses: “The Lord,… merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,… forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” Exodus 34:6, 7. The choice, moreover, fell upon one who could “have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.” Hebrews 5:2. Fluent in speech, but, like many eloquent men, unstable, impulsive, and unfitted for the burden of administration for which his younger brother, of slow speech, was so admirably adapted, and on whom he leaned in times of fiery trial, Aaron was ever afterward earnest in his devotion to Jehovah and his people, and worthy of the high trust confided to him. This ordinance was altogether a most impressive scene. “In the background was seen Mount Sinai, silent and shrouded, as if it had never burned with fire or echoed along its gorges a solemn decalogue; around were the rich pastures of its slopes, stretching away far before their desert march. In the holy tabernacle, raised by the people’s liberality, was Aaron consecrated the first high priest, and clothed with the robes of beauty and glory in presence of all the people!”

This chapter is a record of the investment and anointing of Aaron and his sons, and the anointing of the tabernacle, (1-13,) and the consecration of the priest, (14-36,) including the sin offering, (14-17,) the whole burnt offering, (18-21,) and the ram of consecration, (22-36.)

"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread; And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Moses did as the LORD commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing which the LORD commanded to be done. And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water. And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith. And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim. And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the LORD commanded Moses. And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them. And he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all his vessels, both the laver and his foot, to sanctify them. And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to sanctify him. And Moses brought Aaron’s sons, and put coats upon them, and girded them with girdles, and put bonnets upon them; as the LORD commanded Moses." — Leviticus 8:1-13 KJV.


2. Aaron and his sons — They had been previously designated to this office, and their official garments had been appointed, (Exodus 28,) and the anointing oil had been compounded, (Exodus 30:23,) and the consecratory service had been minutely described. Exodus 29. Sin offering — So encompassed are the best men with infirmities, and so liable to sins of ignorance (Hebrews 9:7) and inadvertence, that they need the efficacy of a perpetual expiatory sacrifice to keep them in a state of acceptance before a holy God. 1 John 1:7. Hence Aaron and his sons are treated as presumptive sinners for whom atonement must be made before their induction into the priestly office. Christ commissions only pardoned and regenerate men to preach his glorious Gospel, though they may be called, as were Aaron and his sons, before they are sprinkled with the blood of atonement. Two rams — One was for a burnt offering and the other was the ram of consecration, the flesh of which was treated as a peace offering. Verses 29-32. Unleavened bread — This was for a meat or bread offering. Thus, with the exception of the trespass offering, all the great sacrifices were combined in a prescribed order in this consecratory service. The order of the offerings is important as a key to their significance. See The Order of the Sacrifices.

3. Gather… all the congregation — The elders representing the people gathered in front of the tabernacle; behind them stood the congregation occupying all the heights around. No ordination of a minister should be in the presence of ministers only, but before the laity, who are deeply interested in the character and qualifications of those who stand before them as God’s representatives.

6. Washed them with water — Physical purity is desirable in itself. Cleanliness is next to godliness. But this washing of the outer man symbolizes the purgation of the inner man from all filthiness of the spirit, by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Nearly all pagan nations employ water as an indication of a moral cleansing, either borrowing the practice from the Hebrews or because the symbolism is naturally suggested to the mind. The Egyptian priests bathed in cold water twice each day and twice each night. Exodus 2:5. The supposition that this washing of the priests in the wilderness was by the immersion of the entire person is too violent to be entertained. Nevertheless the Hebrew word כָּבַר here used is the same as that found in 2 Kings 5:10, “Go wash in Jordan.” For its bearing on the meaning of βάπτω see Methodist Quarterly, January, 1874, and January, 1875, p. 67.

7. The coat — This is the כֻּתֹּ֗נֶת (cethoneth), corresponding to the Greek χιτών, a closely-fitting garment in form and use like our shirt, by which term it should be translated. A person wearing this alone was described as naked. 1 Samuel 19:24; Isaiah 20:2; John 21:7. The girdle — The אַבְנֵט (abhnet) was an ornamental belt or sash, worn only by priests and state officers. Aaron’s was of fine twilled linen, tri-coloured, blue, purple, and scarlet, embroidered with flowers of needlework. Exodus 39:29. It was tied in a knot, so that the ends hung down in front nearly to the feet, and were thrown over the left shoulder in time of sacrifice. The length, according to Maimonides, was thirty-two cubits, and it was wrapped several times round the body, just below the armpits; its breadth was three fingers. The robe — The מְּעִ֔יל  (me’il). This was a cloak worn over the כֻּתֹּ֗נֶת, and under the girdle, reaching down to the feet. The ephod — The term is transferred from the Hebrew אֵפֹ֔ד. This sacred vestment was originally for the high priest, but it was afterwards worn by ordinary priests, (1 Samuel 22:18,) and deemed characteristic of the office. Hosea 3:4. It was divided below the armpits into two parts, one covering the front, to which the breastplate was attached, and the other the back, the two parts being united on the shoulders by clasps of gold or precious stones. It reached down to the middle of the thighs, and was worn over the robe. Much gold was used in making it. Exodus 39:2-21. To make a new style of ephod implied the introduction of a new system of worship. The curious girdle of the ephod — “Curious” is an adjective not found in the original. What is meant is, the band for the two parts of the ephod, which was of the same material and of one piece with it. Exodus 28:8.

8. The breastplate — The חֹ֑שֶׁן (choshen) was an ornamental bag or four-cornered gorget, with twelve precious stones set in gold, arranged in four rows. The Seventy call it λογειον, or λογιον, the speaking place, and in the Vulgate it is styled rationale, in reference to its use as an oracle. As the term breastplate is descriptive of armour it is an unfortunate translation. Within this bag were deposited the Urim and the Thummim. It is evident from this verse that these things which Moses put into the חֹ֑שֶׁן at the consecration of Aaron are different from the precious stones previously set by the jeweller. Exodus 28:15-21. “The sculptures of Thebes and Beni-Hassan afford testimony to the skill of the Egyptian goldsmiths; and numerous gold and silver vases, inlaid work and jewelry, represented in common use, show the great advancement they had already made, at a remote period, in this branch. The engraving of gold, the mode of casting it, and inlaying it with stones, were evidently known at the same time; numerous specimens of this kind of work have been found in Egypt.” — Wilkinson. The Urim and Thummim — lights and perfections; in the Seventy δηλωσῖ και αληθεια, manifestation and truth; in the Vulgate, doctrina et veritas — are, in their nature and manner of use, the greatest puzzle to be found in the whole range of Jewish antiquities. Opinions are various: 1.) Some physical effect indicated the divine will; or, 2.) Their presence excited a prophetic gift in the high priest; or, 3.) They were a contrivance for casting lots.

9. The mitre — This was a turban, since its Hebrew name is from a verb signifying to wind about. This was a very splendid head-covering, worn only by pontiffs and kings, (Ezekiel 21:26,) as an emblem of dignity, styled in Ecclus. 45:12, “an ornament of honour, a costly work, the desire of the eyes.” The holy crown — It was called holy because it had the tetragrammaton — the four-lettered Hebrew word for Jehovah — inscribed upon it. Exodus 28:36. It was of fine linen, with a fillet of blue lace, symbolizing heaven, and over it a golden diadem, “on which,” says Josephus, “blossomed a golden calyx like the flower of the henbane.” The engraved golden plate was a gold band, two fingers broad, tied behind with blue lace embroidered with flowers. It bore the inscription, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.

10. Anointed… sanctified — The first verb is the act of setting apart, the second expresses the state of objects thus set apart or consecrated to a religious use. The anointing of the Holy Ghost introduces the soul into that marvellous light, full assurance, and perfect love, which constitute evangelical perfection. 1 John 2:27; 2 Corinthians 3:8-18. 11. Seven times — This number indicates perfection. See Leviticus 4:6, note. The perfect consecration of Aaron is alluded to in Hebrews 7:28, in connection with our High Priest, “who is consecrated (τετελειωμενον, perfected) forever.” In the Seventy the term “consecration” is translated τελειωσις, making perfect. Verse 33. Hence Jesus is spoken of as fully prepared for his priestly office when he is said to have been made perfect through sufferings. Hebrews 2:10; 5:8, 9. In his personal relation to the moral law he was always perfect.

12. He poured… the… oil — This expresses a copious unction. See Psalm 133:2. The same Hebrew word is used in Isaiah 44:3, to indicate the copious effusion of the Spirit in the latter days. Aaron’s sons were only sprinkled with oil and blood, (ver. 30,) but in Leviticus 7:35, they are spoken of as anointed. The fact that Aaron alone was arrayed in his robes of office, and anointed before the blood was shed, beautifully typifies Christ in his peerless excellency and dignity anointed by the Holy Spirit before he accomplished his atoning work. Before the anointing of the sons of Aaron (verse 30) all the acts recorded in verses 13-29 were performed — the blood is shed, the breast waved before Jehovah, and the fat is consumed on the altar, its sweet odour ascending as a type of the ascension of Jesus, who was slain as a victim, and who ascended as a priest to appear in the holy place for us.

13. Bonnets — This word is still used by the Scotch to signify a cap for the head of a man. Hence Walter Scott sings, “And plaids and bonnets waving high.” But its general modern use is restricted to the head covering of a female. The Hebrew means hill shaped, suggesting the conical form of this linen cap. According to Josephus it was a helmet of linen, one wreath being plaited and folded over another, and a thin cap, suited to its shape, put over all to prevent its unfolding.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Leviticus 7:35-38 with Concluding Note

 "This is the portion of the anointing of Aaron, and of the anointing of his sons, out of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, in the day when he presented them to minister unto the LORD in the priest’s office; Which the LORD commanded to be given them of the children of Israel, in the day that he anointed them, by a statute for ever throughout their generations. This is the law of the burnt offering, of the meat offering, and of the sin offering, and of the trespass offering, and of the consecrations, and of the sacrifice of the peace offerings; Which the LORD commanded Moses in mount Sinai, in the day that he commanded the children of Israel to offer their oblations unto the LORD, in the wilderness of Sinai." — Leviticus 7:35-38 KJV.


35. This is the portion of the anointing of Aaron —
This is the provision made for those who are anointed priests — the perquisite by virtue of the holy office. The abstract anointing is put for the concrete, the anointed.

36. In the day that he anointed them — The command given on that day extends over the whole period of the Aaronic priesthood. A statute for ever — See Leviticus 3:17, note.

37. Burnt offering — Chap. 1, notes, and Leviticus 6:8-13, notes. Meat offering — Chap. 2, and Leviticus 6:14-18, notes. Sin offering — Chap. 4, notes, and Leviticus 6:25-30. Trespass offering — Chapter 5-6:7; 7:1-7, notes. The consecrations — This consisted in filling the hands of the priests with the things which they were to offer. See Numbers 3:3, note. It is an expressive mode of inducting them into office. This ordinance is not distinctly spoken of in the previous chapters except in part in Leviticus 6:19-23, but the offerings of which the consecration is made up have been already detailed, as will be seen in chap. 8. Peace offerings — Chaps. 3, 7:11-34. notes. “The sacrificial law, therefore, with the five species of sacrifices which it enjoins, embraces every aspect in which Israel was to manifest its true relation to the Lord its God. While the expiatory sacrifices furnished the means of removing the barrier which sins and trespasses had set up between the sinner and the holy God, and procured the forgiveness of sin and guilt, so that the sinner could attain once more to the unrestricted enjoyment of the covenanted grace, the sanctification of the whole man in self-surrender to the Lord was shadowed forth in the burnt offerings, the fruits of this sanctification in the meat offerings, and the blessedness of the possession and enjoyment of saving grace in the peace offerings. Nevertheless the sacrifices could not make those who drew near to God with them and in them “perfect as pertaining to the conscience,” (Hebrews 9:9; 10:1,) because the blood of bulls and of goats could not possibly take away sin. Hebrews 10:4. The forgiveness of sin which the atoning sacrifices procured was only a paresiv (a passing by) of past sins through the forbearance of God, (Romans 3:25, 26,) in anticipation of the true sacrifice of Christ, of which the animal sacrifices were only a type, and by which the justice of God is satisfied, and the way opened for full forgiveness of sin and complete reconciliation to God.” — Keil. See Introduction, 5, 6, 7.


That this sacrificial code was burdensome will not be denied by those who have enjoyed the more glorious dispensation of the Spirit. There is a striking contrast between the sacrificial law and “the law of liberty” in Christ Jesus our Lord. The great purpose of the first was the ushering in of the second. In this regard not only the moral law but the ceremonial, also, was our paidagwgov, child-leader, to bring us to Christ. All the shadows adumbrate him; all the types prefigure him in his various mediatorial offices. This will account for the variety of the sacrifices containing an expiatory element. A subordinate purpose of this variety may have been to prevent that tedium which would have attended one invariable form of sacrifice. Rationalism suggests that this complicated and elaborate system was devised simply to keep the Israelites so busily employed that they would have no inclination to adopt the idolatries of the surrounding nations, especially the religious rites with which they had become familiar in Egypt. But the suggestion that God has created any thing for the sole purpose of filling a vacuum is not only a reflection on his wisdom, but a glaring indication of a lack, on the part of Rationalism, of that true spirit of philosophy which is satisfied only with the discovery of worthy final causes of things. “These rites and ceremonies were minute, in order to impress upon the Jewish mind, and upon the mind of humanity itself, the great ideas of substitution, atonement, vicarious sacrifice; till this idea became so familiarized to the hearts of mankind that they should be able not only to appreciate, but to hail with joy and gratitude that perfect atonement of which these were the shadows, saying, each of them, ‘We are voices crying in the wilderness, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!’” — Dr. Cummings.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Leviticus 7:11-34

 "And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he shall offer unto the LORD. If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried. Besides the cakes, he shall offer for his offering leavened bread with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace offerings. And of it he shall offer one out of the whole oblation for an heave offering unto the LORD, and it shall be the priest’s that sprinkleth the blood of the peace offerings. And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten the same day that it is offered; he shall not leave any of it until the morning. But if the sacrifice of his offering be a vow, or a voluntary offering, it shall be eaten the same day that he offereth his sacrifice: and on the morrow also the remainder of it shall be eaten: But the remainder of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day shall be burnt with fire. And if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings be eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be imputed unto him that offereth it: it shall be an abomination, and the soul that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity. And the flesh that toucheth any unclean thing shall not be eaten; it shall be burnt with fire: and as for the flesh, all that be clean shall eat thereof. But the soul that eateth of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, that pertain unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, even that soul shall be cut off from his people. Moreover the soul that shall touch any unclean thing, as the uncleanness of man, or any unclean beast, or any abominable unclean thing, and eat of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which pertain unto the LORD, even that soul shall be cut off from his people. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Ye shall eat no manner of fat, of ox, or of sheep, or of goat. And the fat of the beast that dieth of itself, and the fat of that which is torn with beasts, may be used in any other use: but ye shall in no wise eat of it. For whosoever eateth the fat of the beast, of which men offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, even the soul that eateth it shall be cut off from his people. Moreover ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings. Whatsoever soul it be that eateth any manner of blood, even that soul shall be cut off from his people. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, He that offereth the sacrifice of his peace offerings unto the LORD shall bring his oblation unto the LORD of the sacrifice of his peace offerings. His own hands shall bring the offerings of the LORD made by fire, the fat with the breast, it shall he bring, that the breast may be waved for a wave offering before the LORD. And the priest shall burn the fat upon the altar: but the breast shall be Aaron’s and his sons’. And the right shoulder shall ye give unto the priest for an heave offering of the sacrifices of your peace offerings. He among the sons of Aaron, that offereth the blood of the peace offerings, and the fat, shall have the right shoulder for his part. For the wave breast and the heave shoulder have I taken of the children of Israel from off the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them unto Aaron the priest and unto his sons by a statute for ever from among the children of Israel." — Leviticus 7:11-34 KJV.


11. The law of… the peace offerings —
See chap. 3, notes. There are added to the description given there the chief elements of the bread offering, namely, unleavened cakes and oil. Both offerings are eucharistic, affording an expression of gratitude to Jehovah for the peace which he gives to the obedient, and of fellowship with all the children of Israel. Here the peace offering appears under three divisions, the תּוֹדָה (todha), or thanksgiving; the נָדַר (nedher), or vow, and the נְדָבָה (n’dhabha); the freewill. The last was quite inferior, since a defective victim might be sacrificed. Leviticus 22:23. The three are thus distinguished — the first is an outgushing of praise for spontaneous tokens of Jehovah’s goodness; the second is an obligatory requital for some act of Divine beneficence done in consideration of a vow; and the third has regard to no special benefaction, but affords a method of taking the initiative in seeking God.

13. He shall offer… leavened bread — This requirement does not conflict with the prohibition of leaven in Leviticus 2:11, because it is not burned, but eaten in a joyful banquet where it is proper to gratify the palate.

14. Heave offering — According to rabbinical tradition, the manner of heaving was to lay the oblation on the hands of the offerer, the priest putting his hands underneath and then moving them upwards and downwards. The import of heaving in sacrifices is supposed to be a presentation to God, who rules in heaven above and in the earth beneath. It was given to the priest as his representative.

15. The flesh… shall be eaten the same day — The right shoulder, or heave offering, and the wave breast were to be eaten by the priests and their families in the camp, or in Jerusalem, and the remainder of this sacrifice was returned to the offerer, to be eaten by himself and his friends, denoting that they were admitted to a state of intimate companionship with God, sharing part and part with him and his priests, having a standing in his house and a seat at his table. It was an occasion of peculiar joy and gladness, strikingly prefiguring the Lord’s Supper, rightly called the Holy Eucharist, or Thanksgiving, and the blessedness of eating and drinking in the kingdom of God. Luke 14:15. He shall not leave any… until the morning — It would be very improper to expose to putrefaction any thing considered holy. This is supposed to be the ground of the prohibition. Harmer thinks that it is aimed at the Arabian practice of drying the meats presented in sacrifice, which is contrary to both the genius of the Mosaic and of the Christian dispensations. The Gospel does not impart to the believer grace to be put aside for a time of future need, as a soldier puts several days’ rations in his haversack when he is to be separated from his base of supplies, nor does it require him to live on old experiences, since only unbelief can cut him off from access to the bread of life. He is therefore taught to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

16. A vow, or a voluntary offering — See verse 11, note. Since these were inferior offerings, they were considered less sacred. Hence two days were allowed for eating them. There was little difficulty in this matter where friends were numerous and near. The requirement to eat within one or two days would often induce the offerer to invite the poor to this religious banquet. Theodoret, Clericus, and others, assert that the limit of two days was designed to compel the worshipper to invite the poor to his religious banquet. It is more probable that it is a safeguard against the desecration of holy things.

18. Neither shall it be imputed unto him — It shall not be reckoned or accounted as a worthy act, as was Abraham’s faith. Genesis 15:6. Obedience is more acceptable than sacrifice, without which an offering becomes an abomination. Isaiah 1:11-15.

20. The soul… having his uncleanness — This verse implies that there is an order in the religious exercises of the Hebrews. The ceremonially impure could bring but one acceptable oblation, the sin offering, for the removal of his defilement. Eucharistic offerings from hands impure are not a sweet savour unto Jehovah, but a stench in his nostrils. The first duty of an impenitent sinner is not to lay earthly holocausts upon God’s altar, but to “cease to do evil.” That soul shall be cut off from his people — This must be understood as the punishment of an audacious and defiant trampling down of Jehovah’s authority, a high-handed sin, and not a mere inadvertence. The cutting off denotes not mere excommunication, but, “the punishment of death in general, without defining the manner.” — Gesenius. Probation is made up of small things. These are tests of character more practicable than requirements of greater seeming importance. Divine authority infuses a moral element into mere ritualism. Hence positive precepts, as the Christian sacraments, are often a higher test of faith than commandments, which find their reason in man’s moral nature. See Butler’s Analogy, part ii, chap. 1.


23. Eat no manner of fat — This prohibits only the interior fat or suet of the sacrificial animals, whether offered in sacrifice or slain for food. See Leviticus 3:3, 17, notes. Some writers assert that only the internal fat of animals offered to God is forbidden, since “the fat (suet) of lambs, rams, and goats,” was one of the provisions graciously bestowed on the Israelites. Deuteronomy 32:13, 14. But this question is answered in the next verse.

25. Of the beast, of which men offer — This is evidently an interdict of the fat of the entire class of sacrificial animals, and not of the particular victims. Fat promotes cutaneous diseases. The prohibition of this article of diet also raised up a barrier between the Israelites and the idolatrous nations by restraining the former from partaking of the festive banquets of the latter. Michaelis suggests that the prohibition of fat was for the purpose of promoting the culture of the olive, and Knobel maintains that it was because the mouth of man is unclean. A better reason is, because it would be an infringement of Jehovah’s rights to eat as common food that which he had sanctified unto himself.

26. Ye shall eat no… blood —
To this prohibition there is no exception. It has especial respect to the atoning blood of sacrifice, first of the type and then of the great Antitype.

30. A wave offering — The rabbies say that the offering was laid upon the hands of the offerer. The priest, putting his hands beneath, moves the offering to and fro horizontally. But it is not certain from Exodus 29:26, 27 whether the waving was done by the offerer alone or by the help of the priest. The significance of this peculiar motion is doubtful. The rabbies say that it symbolically teaches that Jehovah is present in every quarter of the earth. The breast thus waved was eaten by the priest and his family.


33. Shall have the right shoulder — Because this was not easily divisible it could not be shared by the families of the priests in common. Hence it is divinely allotted to him who sprinkles the blood.


Thursday, August 24, 2023

Leviticus 7:1-10

 "Likewise this is the law of the trespass offering: it is most holy. In the place where they kill the burnt offering shall they kill the trespass offering: and the blood thereof shall he sprinkle round about upon the altar. And he shall offer of it all the fat thereof; the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards, And the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks, and the caul that is above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away: And the priest shall burn them upon the altar for an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a trespass offering. Every male among the priests shall eat thereof: it shall be eaten in the holy place: it is most holy. As the sin offering is, so is the trespass offering: there is one law for them: the priest that maketh atonement therewith shall have it. And the priest that offereth any man’s burnt offering, even the priest shall have to himself the skin of the burnt offering which he hath offered. And all the meat offering that is baken in the oven, and all that is dressed in the fryingpan, and in the pan, shall be the priest’s that offereth it. And every meat offering, mingled with oil, and dry, shall all the sons of Aaron have, one as much as another." — Leviticus 7:1-10 KJV.

This chapter continues the Divine directions to the priests respecting their office in the presentation of the various sacrifices. In it are rules for the trespass and the peace offerings, the prohibition of eating suet and blood, and the assignment of the priest’s portion in the peace offering.


1. Trespass offering —
See chap. 5, introductory remarks, and verse 6, note. The primary idea involved in the אָשֵׁם (asham), or guilt offering, is that aspect of sin which constitutes it a debt payable unto God, and frequently to man also, to whom recompense must be made when the אָשֵׁם (asham) was offered.

2. The blood… shall he sprinkle — See Leviticus 1:5, note. “The sprinkling of the blood,” says Outram, “was by much the most sacred part of the entire service, since it was that by which the life and soul of the victim were considered to be given to God as the supreme Lord of life and death.” In explaining the significance of this rite, orthodox writers assert that the blood, as representing the life of an innocent animal, was offered to Divine justice as the substitute for the death-penalty inflicted on the guilty soul of the offerer. On the other hand, Socinian and rationalistic writers deny the possibility of rendering a satisfaction to the justice of God. Bahr, with much depth of thought and apparent conformity to the fundamental truths of the Scriptures, insists that there is no symbolical execution of punishment, but rather a typical giving away of the soul of the offerer unto God. “As the presentation of the blood of the beast is a giving up and away of the beast-life in death, so must the natural, that is, selfish life of the offerer, acting in contrariety to God, be given up and away, that is, die; but since this is a giving away to Jehovah, it is no mere ceasing to be, but a dying which, eo ipso, goes into life. Accordingly, the meaning of a sacrifice is in short this, that the natural, sinful being (life) is given up to God in death, in order to obtain the true being (sanctification) through fellowship with God.” This view proceeds upon the supposition that sin is a mere trifle, a bitter-sweet good, a necessary misstep of the infant tottering from his probationary cradle to the state of fixed holiness, and needing no atonement in a universe in which all finite personalities are only manifestations of the one impersonal and nondescript agency called God, and the radical distinction between sin and holiness is an illusion. This exegesis of the blood-shedding on Jewish altars and on Mount Calvary is admirably adapted “to a mystical, pantheistic nature-religion,” but it is extremely repugnant to the plain theistical religion typically set forth by Moses, and actually established by the Son of God.

3. The fat — See Leviticus 3:3, 17, notes. The rump — The fat tail. See Leviticus 3:9, note.

4. The kidneys — Sometimes rendered reins. See Leviticus 3:4, note. The caul — See Leviticus 3:4, note.

7. As the sin offering is, so is the trespass offering — Though much alike in their interior essence and symbolical meaning, they had this difference, the trespass offering was always personal, while the sin offering might be congregational. See Leviticus 5:6, note.

8. The skin of the burnt offering — This was a perquisite of the priest, to be kept or sold at his pleasure. Bishop Patrick suggests that Adam was the first priest who offered a burnt offering, and that the presentation of the skin to him by the Creator established the precedent here ratified by the ceremonial law. The same custom is found among pagans, whose priests superstitiously thought that by lying upon these skins they would be endowed with the gift of prescience. See Virgil’s AEneid, book vii, verses 86-95. The same superstition lingers to this day in the Highlands of Scotland.

9. The meat offering — The bread offering, variously prepared, is described in chap. 2, notes. Shall be the priest’s that offereth it — Thus individual diligence was stimulated and rewarded; but to provide the sick and aged priests with materials for their own sustenance and for offerings to God, the commandment is given in verse 10 that all the sons of Aaron should have the oil and unbaked flour, the largest part, one as much as another — Thus there was a blending of individual interests with community-life as a safeguard against indolence. Moreover, if the whole had been given to the officiating priest there would have been more than he could consume. The cooked-bread offering is supposed to have been small in amount.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Is It the Same Spirit?

In Luke 1:15 the angel Gabriel predicts the following of John the Baptist - "...for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit." (NRSV)

QUESTION: Was the Spirit predicated of John from his birth (Luke 1:15) identical with the Pentecostal gift to the disciples?

ANSWER: The Third Person of the Trinity has always been in the world, but his activity before Pentecost differed from his operations after his public manifestation as the Pentecostal gift, as an outward temporary gift, like skill to Bezaleel, physical strength to Samson, the kingly feel to Saul, differs from the permanent inward grace adorning the soul with all the Christian virtues, love, joy, peace, etc. We are not to understand that John was an exception to the law of heredity by which all of the offspring of Adam except the second Adam were tainted with a tendency toward sin. See Rom. 5:12, "For all have sinned," i.e., became sinful. John the Baptist  was so under the influence of the Holy Spirit as to be kept from actual sin and through faith to be cleansed from depraved tendency even in childhood. Were parents as deeply spiritual in these times as John's were there would be frequent instances of sky-born children sanctified to God before the devil could touch them. Oh, for more houses filled with the heavenly atmosphere of perfect love in which childhood may be early purified and trained for Christ and his church! It is a great blessing to be well born.

— from Steele's Answers pp. 10, 11.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Are Infants Born Justified?

QUESTION: If infants are born in a state of justification, are they not also regenerated, since regeneration accompanies justification?

ANSWER: No. Justification is a legal term for forgiveness of sin and hence it cannot be properly applied to one who has never sinned and is incapable of sinning. Acceptance would be a better term. This does not imply the infant's regeneration. All infants belong to Christ, who redeemed them. It is not wise to apply to them the terms which belong only to believers, such as justification, regeneration and sanctification. Bishop Gilbert Haven, at my dinner table, asked the lady presiding whether the children were not born regenerate. Her reply was, "If they were, they all backslid before they were more than three weeks old."

— from Steele's Answers pp. 9, 10.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Leviticus 6:8-13

 "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it. And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar. And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place. And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out." — Leviticus 6:8-13 KJV.


We now come to what might be appropriately styled the priest’s rubric of sacrifice, or altar-book, in which his duties are minutely specified, in order that the ritual might be performed with the uniformity and decency becoming the majesty and holiness of Jehovah. In the best Hebrew Bibles chapter vi begins here.

9. The law of the burnt offering — The rules for offering this sacrifice were laid down for the priests and for individual worshippers in chapter 1. But the following rules are for the guidance of the priests in the national morning and evening sacrifice. At about sunrise incense was burnt upon the golden altar, before any other sacrifice, beautifully teaching that prayer and praise should be the first employment of our waking moments. One lamb was then offered as a whole burnt offering, and another at the close of the day. These were burned with a slow fire, so that the sweet-smelling savour was going up continually in the morn, atoning for the sins of the night; at the evening, for those of the day. A bread offering and a drink offering immediately followed each of these sacrifices. The drink offering, (Numbers 28:5-7,) which consisted of strong wine, was not to be drank by the priest, for this was prohibited, (Leviticus 10:9;) but it was to be freely poured out around the altar as a libation, symbolizing the overflowing joy of a soul conscious of forgiveness and fully consecrated to God. The whole service, of which the burnt offering was the principal part, was a daily expression of the nation’s entire devotion to Jehovah. Because of the burning upon the altar — Here we have a mistranslation in the Authorized Version leading the reader to suppose that the etymology of olah is attempted by the sacred writer. The only difficulty is in the word rendered burning, used only here, signifying hearth, according to Furst. The whole burnt offering shall be upon the hearth upon the altar all night.

10. Linen breeches — Or drawers. These and the rest of the sacerdotal apparel are described in Exodus 28:39-43. To symbolize holiness, the robe was to be composed of only one material. Mixed materials, as wool and flax, were forbidden to the common people. Revelation 19:19. Garments wholly of wool would not have suited the climate; and moreover, from their animal origin, were not regarded as pure. Linen robes are emblematical of purity. Revelation 19:14. From immemorial antiquity Egypt was the great centre of the linen manufacture in the world. The verecundia of the Hebrew ritual in this and other places was a protest against some of the shameless forms of nature-worship prevalent among the idolatrous nations, and especially in some Egyptian rites according to the father of history (Herodotus, 2:60) and the pictures still visible on the monuments. Over the drawers was worn the cethoneth, or close-fitting cassock, also of fine linen, white, but with a diamond or chess-board pattern on it. This came nearly to the feet, and was woven without seam.

11. Put on other garments — This change was required because the priest was to go forth from the consecrated enclosure of the tabernacle and to come in contact with things unsanctified. The ashes must be deposited in a clean place, because they were regarded as a part of the holy offering. See note on Leviticus 4:12.

13. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar — This altar-fire was of a supernatural origin, (Leviticus 9:24,) as the fire of love to God in a fallen soul is not spontaneously ignited, but is a spark dropped from above. The fire on the altar, as the symbol of Jehovah’s holiness and the instrument of his purifying or destroying power, was the only fire permitted to be used in the tabernacle. That obtained elsewhere for sacred purposes was called “strange.” Leviticus 10:1. According to the Gemera the sacred fire was divided into three parts, one for burning victims, one for incense, and one for the supply of the other portions. “According to the Jewish legends, this sacred fire was kept up without interruption till the Babylonian captivity, and, according to 2 Macc. 1:19, till a period later. The Talmud and many rabbins reckon it as one of the five things which were wanting in the second temple — the fire, the ark, the urim and thummim, the anointing oil, and the spirit of holiness.” — Kurtz. The injunction to keep the fire always burning enforces the duty of undying zeal in the service of Christ through the Holy Spirit ever abiding within as a refiner’s fire. The wood laid on the fire every morning typifies the means of grace daily used, the Holy Scriptures, prayer and praise.