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, May 24, 2023

Saved Through Christ, Though They Know Him Not

[The Atonement] affords a basis for the salvation of such pious pagans as live up to their best light. 'They are saved through Christ though they know Him not.' (J. Wesley.)

How about the condition of faith in Him? They have the spirit of faith and the purpose of righteousness; that is, the disposition to trust in the object of faith, the historical Christ, were He revealed to them in the Gospel, and a willingness to walk by the revealed law of God were it made known to them.

What is your Scriptural authority? Jesus Christ intimates that the judgment day will proceed by the use of a sliding scale. Where much is given much will be required; where little is given little will be required. St. Paul declares: 'There is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without the written law will be judged by the law written on their hearts.' Peter looking upon a group of God-fearing heathen at the headquarters of Brigadier General Cornelius, declared: 'Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that feareth Him and worketh righteousness is accepted with Him.'

'Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.'

Mr. Joseph Cook, who defends the rectoral theory, advocates the doctrine of salvation by possessing the essential Christ where the historical Christ is unknown. The essential Christ is an obedient attitude of the will toward 'the eternal Ideal required by self-evident truths, which has in Christ, and in Him only, become the historically Real.'

In the last day the Judge will say, 'Come, ye blessed,' not only to those who have enthroned the historical Christ in their hearts, but also to those who have exhibited towards His brethren, any forlorn man, the spirit of love, the essential element in the character of Christ — 'Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these, My brethren, ye did it unto Me.' The standard is so low as to be applicable to all who know the distinction between right and wrong. The rectoral theory of the atonement needs no probation after death.

What effect does this have on the missionary motive? None. That word stands in full force — 'Go ye and teach all nations.' While the pagan can be saved without a knowledge of Christ, the Christian cannot be saved while selfishly withholding that knowledge. I believe it is easier for God to save a pagan without the Bible in Bombay than it is to save a professed Christian in Boston without a disposition to send him a Bible; in other words, without a missionary spirit. I repudiate the doctrine of geographical election and reprobation expressed in the saying, 'To exchange cradles would be to exchange destinies.'"

— From "The Atonement" Half-Hours with St. John's Epistles (1901). 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

The Temporal and Spiritual Benefits of the Levitical Sacrifices

We propound a question of more than ordinary interest when we inquire into the precise benefit which accrued to the devout Hebrew from his faithful observance of the law of offerings. The answer to this inquiry will elucidate the important question of the nature and extent of the blessing promised to the believer in Jesus Christ, who presents him to the Father as his great sin offering. The moral delinquencies of man are of two kinds — offenses against society, which are called crimes, and are punishable with temporal penalties, and offenses purely spiritual, or sins, which await the fires of the judgment day. The Levitical law added, also, ceremonial offenses or impurities. Under the theocracy this distinction is in a measure lost, the different kinds of offenses being blended together and treated as sins. The first benefit to the sincere offerer was exemption from the temporal punishment of death. Yet all crimes could not be so expiated as to escape judicial death. Offenses which disorganize and destroy society — murder, adultery, and cursing of parents, and sins especially offensive to God, as profanation of his holy day and blasphemy of his holy name were beyond the efficacy of the sacrifices as to their power to screen the guilty from physical death. But minor offenses — usually punished by the civil magistrate — if freely confessed with all possible restitution, together with ceremonial impurities, found an exemption from death in the blood sprinkled on the altar. But what did those blood sprinklings and those blazing altars do for guilty souls? Did they relieve the burdened conscience, effecting exactly such a change as penitent believers in Christ now experience in the pardon of their sins and the witness of the Spirit of adoption? There are several answers. First, that there was to the sincere Hebrew the same subjective phenomena as now attend justification by faith; the same conscious relief; and the same joy in the assurance of reconciliation: not flowing from the blood of the victim, but from the blood of its great Antitype appropriated by an anticipatory faith. But the insuperable objection to this is, that there is not in the Pentateuch the first hint of the Lamb of God, the reality of which the victim bleeding on the Hebrew altar is but the shadow. Hence there is no ground laid for faith to build upon in any objective revelation of the Sacrifice to be offered on Calvary. The second view seems to be endorsed by Origen, Theodoret, Erasmus, and Luther, in their explanation of the term λαστριον in Romans 3:25. It is, that there was in the blood of animals slain in sacrifice by Divine appointment an inherent efficacy to take away the sins of the devout offerer, without any apprehension by faith of the Heaven-appointed Victim yet to pour out his blood. "As the lid of the ark of the covenant, when sprinkled with blood, imparted to the Israelite a firm confidence of the forgiveness of his sins, in like manner the Saviour, and especially his death, is the security for our redemption to which we may believingly look." To the same conclusion Bonar comes. "The sin passes away; it is an instantaneous, complete, perpetual pardon."


The third view is based on the explicit statements of Divine inspiration. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews reiterates, in various phrases, the declaration that the blood of bulls and of goats cannot take away sins. Hebrews 10:4. Between this assertion and the assurance given by Jehovah that "the priest shall make atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him," (Leviticus 6:7,) we have a seeming contradiction, of which the best explanation is afforded by St. Paul, who, in explaining the
λαστριον, is very careful to say that "Christ Jesus is set forth to be 'the propitiation,' 'the mercy seat,' through faith in his blood, to declare his (God's) righteousness for the passing over (πρεσις, the pretermission) of sins that are past (in ages gone) through the forbearance of God." The doctrine of St. Paul is, that the atoning death of Jesus justifies God, by removing his seeming low estimate of sin, or indifference towards it, in passing over and forbearing to punish the sins of penitent, blood-offering Hebrews in past ages. See on Romans 3:25, also Alford and Bengel. The latter says, that "pretermission, (forgiveness,) in the Old Testament, had respect to transgressions until (πολτρωσιν) redemption of them was accomplished in the death of Christ. Hebrews 9:15. The objects of pretermission are sins; the object of forbearance are sinners." Says Alford, "Where sins are continually called to mind, there, clearly, the conscience is not clear from them. Very similar is the assertion of Ebrard, when speaking of the blood of bulls as incapable of taking away sins: 'It was shed, not as the instrument of complete vicarious propitiation, but as an exhibition of the postulate [assumed need] of vicarious propitiation.'" How far this pretermission of sins applies to pious pagans is a question beyond the range of our present inquiry. See on Acts 17:30. Respecting the emotional experience attending sacrificial forgiveness as thus explained, we have no explicit statements in the Scriptures. But from such expressions as the testimony that his ways "pleased God," given to Enoch, (Hebrews 11:5;) "blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven," (Psalm 32:1); "the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him," (Psalm 25:14); and from the joy that rings out its hallelujahs through the Psalms, we infer that the Holy Spirit, though not yet doing his official work as the Paraclete, the Spirit of adoption, was by his essential presence assuring obedient Israelites of the gracious forbearance of Jehovah towards them in passing over their sins. This implies that the sacrifices were not offered as a dead opus operatum, or mechanical and soulless performance, but with that devout and penitent state of heart which alone can appropriate spiritual good. When this was absent the "vain oblations" of apostate Israel became "an abomination" (Isaiah 1:11-15) to Jehovah, and he proclaims to the sinning nation, "I desired mercy (philanthropy and justice) and not (mere) sacrifice." Hosea 6:6.

Monday, May 22, 2023

The Ceremonial Function of the Blood

The most cursory reader of [Leviticus] must be impressed with the prominence that is given to the shedding of blood, and to the vast amount of blood which must have been poured out in the service of the tabernacle and temple, making them perpetually reek with streams of gore, like a slaughter-house whose floor is ever crimsoned by the ceaseless work of death.

The directions for the treatment of the blood are very minute and often repeated. It was the centre of the whole system of sacrificial rites. There must be some deep significance in this stream of blood flowing ever fresh through all the Hebrew worship. It is found in Leviticus 17:11, correctly translated, "For the life (נֶפֶשׁ, nephesh) of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that maketh an atonement by means of the life. (בַּנֶּפֶשׁ, banephesh.) In Genesis 2:7, we find that the immaterial principle breathed by Jehovah Elohim into the nostrils of the dust-made statue, constituting it a living soul, is this נֶפֶשׁ (nephesh). Here we find the importance attached to the blood. The blood is the נֶפֶשׁ (nephesh), and the human soul is the נֶפֶשׁ (nephesh). The substitutional atonement, נֶפֶשׁ (nephesh) for נֶפֶשׁ (nephesh), irrational soul for rational soul, is inevitable in the scheme of human redemption. In the treatment of the blood it was required to be sprinkled or spilled from the vessel, and cast abroad around the altar, to be scattered in drops by means of a bunch of hyssop, to be smeared with the finger upon the horns of the altar, not, as one fancifully suggests, because the horns were the highest part of the altar, and nearest to heaven, but because it was the refuge of the accidental man-slayer (Exodus 21:14,) and in clinging to the horns he must lay hold of blood. 1 Kings I:50; 2:28. Finally, the remainder was to be poured out at the base of the great altar, from which, in the temple of Solomon, there were sewers to conduct it away into the brook Kedron. There must have been something like this in the tabernacle in the wilderness, since, in addition to the sacrifices, every animal slain for food in or near the camp was to be slain at the door of the tabernacle.

The emphatic and reiterated prohibition of eating blood is expressly founded on the declaration that it is the
נֶפֶשׁ (nephesh), or animal soul. Leviticus 17:10, 11. So deeply was this interdict engraven on the heart of the Jews, that even the first Christian council in Jerusalem classify it with the violation of the law of purity contained in the seventh commandment. Acts 15:29.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

The Order of the Levitical Sacrifices

At the first view there seems to be no prescribed order in which these different kinds of oblations are to be offered to Jehovah. There is a prevalent, yet erroneous, idea that this was left wholly to the option or caprice of the worshipper. But a more careful inspection discloses two key-texts which open the question of the order. 

The first is found in Leviticus 5:6, 7, where the law directs that the poor man may bring two fowls instead of a lamb or a kid; one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering. The priest is explicitly directed to offer the sin offering first, and then the burnt offering. 

The second key-text is still more valuable, inasmuch as it opens to us the order of the three classes of offerings. It is found in chap. 8 — the order of offerings at the consecration of Aaron and his sons; the sin offering, the whole burnt offering, and the ram of consecration, which answers to the peace offering. 

In other words, the conscience of the offerer was first to be ceremonially purged from sin to render him acceptable to God before he could dedicate his entire being to him. After this the self-consecratory burnt offering is in order; then the peace offering or the meat offering may be presented, as a medium of communion with Jehovah, who gives the largest part of the peace offering back to be eaten by the offerer and his friends in a joyful sacrificial feast. The beautiful correspondence of these offerings, in this order, to justification, sanctification, the communion of the Holy Ghost, and the communion of saints, will be pointed out in the notes.

It is remarkable that both these key-texts should have escaped the keen eye of Keil, who says that these laws "contain no rules respecting the order in which they were to follow one another, when two or more sacrifices were offered together."

Friday, May 19, 2023

The Sacrificial Animals in Leviticus

No small proof of the Divine origin of this sacrificial system is found in the kinds of animals prescribed for the altar. They were domestic, with the exception of the turtledove, which may be styled semi-domestic. This requirement involves two important elements of sacrifice: — that of property, and of affection. Wild animals are unappropriated. No man claims them as his peculiar possession. Hence Jehovah did not appoint for his altar even such wild animals as he pronounced clean. In the Orient there was a familiarity with his flock on the part of the shepherd-owner which amounted to tenderness and love. He individualized his flock and called each sheep by name. In the case of poor men the flock was often folded beneath the same tent or roof with his children, and the lambs were family pets. Nathan, in his reproof of David, spake of no unusual circumstance when he described the little ewe lamb which grew up with the children of the poor man, eating of his own meat, and drinking of his own cup, lying in his bosom, and which was unto him as a daughter. 2 Samuel 12:3. Hence when a Hebrew led a lamb or a kid to the tabernacle or the temple, he laid more than its money value upon the altar: the affections of his heart and of his family gave to the lamb a multiplied value in the eyes of Jehovah. We who are familiar only with the customs of western nations think of an animal given to sacrifice as one taken at random from a drove of ten thousand grazing on the pasturage of the wilderness, or on the hills of Bashan. Again, the animal must be clean, and hence all the more valuable to the owner, because it was the means of life — next in value to life itself. No swine's blood could atone for sin or be a thank offering pleasing to Jehovah, although the proud and polished Athenians crowding the Pnyx to legislate for the Demos would enter upon no business until pigs' blood had lustrated the place.

None but clean herbivorous and graminivorous animals were acceptable to Jehovah. These symbolize innocency of heart, a quality required in all acceptable worship; while the carnivorous animals, living by destroying the lives of other animals, and fitly representing the spirit of fraud, robbery, and oppression among men, were appropriately forbidden for sacrifice. Another reason for this prohibition was, that no portion of an unclean animal could be appropriated to the priest; nor could the offering be bestowed upon the offerer, to be eaten by him and his friends, as in the peace offering. Moreover, the animals prescribed for the altar are prophetic of the future occupation of the people. Until the sacrifice of the Lamb of God for the sins of the world they will always be a pastoral and agricultural nation. Though living on the seacoast, they will never, so long as their ritual retains its significance, abandon the fields and become sailors. Though the great lines of traffic from Egypt and Greece pass through Canaan to Arabia and India, the Israelites will never, while residents of their own land, become a mercantile nation. Though Tyre, and Sidon, and Damascus, close upon their borders, may enrich themselves by manufactures, the religion of the Hebrew will give an agricultural cast to the nation so long as it continues to slaughter bullocks, sheep, and goats on Mount Moriah. The census of modern nations among which Jews are scattered, shows that scarcely one is engaged in tilling the soil or in the care of flocks, Since there is no need of sacrificial animals to prefigure the Lamb of God, the tastes of the whole nation have been changed from bucolics to banking and brokerage, from olive-yards to pack-peddling, throughout the world. How curious, and yet cogent, this incidental proof that the Jew now needs no other sacrifice for sin than that made on Calvary.

The turtle-dove, prescribed for the offering of the poor man, is found in amazing numbers wherever the palm-tree flourishes, every tree being a home for two or three pairs of these elegant, semi-domestic birds. A recent traveller testifies that he has frequently, in a palm-grove, brought down ten braces or more without moving from his post. We adduce this witness to answer the objection that this requirement for sacrifice could not be met by the Israelites in the wilderness. The pigeon is to this day domesticated in the East in enormous numbers. They are kept in dovecots in all the towns and hamlets of Palestine. Before King Solomon imported gallinaceous fowls from India, they were probably the only domestic poultry known to the Hebrews. The only difficulty is in the supply of pigeons in the wilderness. It has been asserted that there was no such supply unless we suppose that the Israelites fled from Egypt with dove-cages in their hands. There is nothing absurd in this supposition. The declaration of Moses, "there shall not a hoof be left behind," is only another expression for the assurance that all their property should be brought with them out of Egypt. Exodus 10:26. The doves were the property of the poor as much as the herds and flocks were the wealth of the affluent.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

The Classification of Levitical Sacrifices

With respect to their origin, sacrifices may be classified thus:

Burnt offerings.
Meat offerings.
Peace offerings.

Sin offerings.
Trespass offerings.

With respect to the material of the offerings, they are thus classified:

Burnt offerings.
Peace offerings.
Sin offerings.
Trespass offerings.

Meat or Food offerings for the altar
Incense and Meat or Food offerings in the holy place
Wine of the drink offering.

As expressing the feelings of the offerer, the sacrifices fall into the following classes:­

Sin offering.
Trespass offering.
Burnt offering. [Post-Mosaic and probably ante-Mosaic.]

Burnt offering.
Meat offering

Meat offering
Peace offering.


In addition to these general sacrifices, others of a personal and special character were required in peculiar circumstances, such as for vows fulfilled, for purification from ceremonial uncleanness, for consecration to the priesthood, and for the healed leper. These, being too divergent in their nature to be grouped together and described in general terms, will be treated of in the commentary. The heave, wave, thank, and free-will offerings are subordinate to the principal sacrifices.

An inspection of the first three chapters will convince the reader that the altar sacrifices therein described are spoken of as already well known to the Hebrews. The three which we have called traditional were all probably known to the patriarchs. We find no record of offerings made by the Israelites in Egypt. The request of Moses to Pharaoh for permission to go out of the land to offer sacrifice without giving offence to the religious scruples of the Egyptians (Exodus 8:26) seems to imply, that, except in a furtive way, animal sacrifices had not been offered by Israel in Egypt. But the recollection of them had been cherished. Hence we call these "traditional" in distinction from the two "law-created" sacrifices — the sin and trespass offerings.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

The Safeguard Against Sinning is the Presence of Christ

QUESTION: Explain 1 John 5:18. 

"We know that whosoever has been begotten of God is not sinning, but he who was begotten of (aorist) of God (the only begotten Son) keepeth him."

ANSWER: My version is from the text of Westcott and Hort, considered the most accurate. The safeguard of the believer against sinning is the promised presence of Christ, "Lo, I am with you always." "Kept by the power of God through faith." If faith lapses, sin comes in. So long as the Christian is in probation he is within the bow-shot of the devil and every moment needs the shield of faith. To deny this is to teach a fanatical perversion of evangelical perfection.

— From Steele's Answers p. 20.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Levitical Offerings Described

In the Levitical ritual there are various offerings prescribed, each expressed by its appropriate term. In addition there are general terms including all offerings. Of the latter are the קָרְבָּ֖ן, korban, from a verb signifying to approach. As no inferior could approach a superior to ask a favour or to do obeisance without a gift in his hand, this gift of access was called korban. It includes all offerings, bloody and bloodless; all altar and non-altar oblations. For the abuse of this term by an ungrateful son, shirking the support of his parents, see note on Matthew 15:5.

Another term, general in its primary use but specific afterwards, is the  מִנְחָה , mincha, from an old verb signifying to give. Originally it was used to express any gift, from man to man (Genesis 32:13) or man to God. Its specific meaning, especially when joined with korban, is meat offering, or food offering; in the Mosaic law, always bloodless.

The  זֶבַח , zebach, from the verb to slaughter animals, especially in sacrifice, always signifies a bleeding victim; the blood being the central and essential idea. By prefixing a letter to the same word the term altar was made, signifying, primarily, “killing place.” It is natural to connect the notion of expiation with this offering.

The term אִשֶּׁה , ishsheh, is also generic, including all fire-made offerings, and once the show bread, (fire baked.) Leviticus 24:7. It is used also to signify every kind of sacrifice and offering.

The special terms for sacrifices are the following: —

The  עֹלָה , olah, the whole burnt offering, in Greek generally ὁλοκαύτωμα, holocaust, derives its name from going up, first upon the altar, and then to heaven in the smoke. It was always bloody, the entire animal, except the sprinkled blood, being consumed by the fire.

The  שֶׁלֶם , shelem, is the peace offering, or thank offering. It is frequently joined with zebach, and then literally signifies a victim of requitals, or a slain offering of peace. It was always bloody.

The חַטָּאת , chattath, is the sin offering. It is a law-created and bloody sacrifice to relieve the conscience from a sense of guilt. Its primary meaning is sin, ἁμαρτία. Its secondary signification is sin offering. 2 Corinthians 5:21. In the prophets it is used to signify punishment.

The אָשָׁם , asham, is the trespass offering, law-created for particular faults or sins enumerated in the law. Gesenius says that the precise point of difference between the last two has hitherto been sought in vain. The Septuagint translates it by πλημμελεια, a false note in music, faultiness. Like the sin offering, it required the slaughter of a victim.

The נֶסֶךְ , nesek, is the drink offering, always connected with the meat offering or the peace offering, and with the confirmation of covenants.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Pre-Sinaitic Sacrifices (Part 3)

Our conclusion, therefore, respecting the ante-Mosaic sacrifices, is, that they were the medium of intercourse with God adapted to the expression of the religious feelings of the offerer. Hence they were chiefly eucharistic, but not entirely destitute of the expiatory element. This conclusion is confirmed by an examination of the occasions on which the patriarchs built their altars and offered their victims. If any feeling was predominant in the bosom of Noah when, beside the vacant ark, he reared his altar and laid thereon oblations “of every clean beast,” (Genesis 8:20,) it was one of gratitude to that mercy which had made his family the sole survivors of a drowned world. In the smoke of that great sacrifice curling up toward heaven, Ararat witnessed a thank offering rather than a sin offering, though the heart of the offerer may not have been destitute of a sense of unworthiness and sinfulness. For it is reasonable to suppose that Noah intended the effect which his sacrifice actually produced in the mind of God. That effect was clearly piacular. “I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake.” Genesis 8:21. Abraham offered his first victim, as we interpret the altar-building, (Genesis 12:7; 13:18, 25,) not when some unusual sense of sinfulness was felt, but when he had received for his seed the promise of Canaan. But when he is twice convicted of prevarication — first to Pharaoh and then to Abimelech — through the faltering of his faith in the protecting power of Providence, we search in vain for the sacrifices offered in atonement for these sins. The same is true of Isaac’s similar offence against the truth. Genesis 26:7-11. In that critical hour in Jacob’s history when he retired alone by the Jabbok, the very fact that he was destined on the morrow to meet his injured brother must have brought vividly to his memory that act of fraud by which he had so deeply wronged him. Yet no altar was built, no victims from his numerous flocks were selected to expiate his sin. Not till the hairy Esau had returned to the shaggy fastnesses of Mount Seir did Jacob build an altar to the El-Elohe-Israel. Genesis 33:20.

The argument of Richard Watson, (Institutes, vol. ii, p. 171,) from the ante-Mosaic distinction of clean and unclean animals, does not demonstrate the expiatory character of the early sacrifices. The argument derived from the prohibition of eating blood because it is the life of the animal, (Genesis 9:4,) together with Job’s reference in his burnt offering to the sin of his children, (Job 1:5,) renders it probable, but by no means conclusive, that the patriarchs distinctly apprehended the necessity of a vicarious atonement for sin. But we cannot, on the ground of these inferences, announce it as a positive truth; nor can we, with Keil, assert that “we never meet with any allusion to expiation in the pre-Mosaic sacrifices of the Old Testament:” for while there is no undisputed instance of forgiveness through sacrifice, there may be an allusion to expiation in the circumstances just cited.

— Commentary on Leviticus.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Pre-Sinaitic Sacrifices (Part 2)

If the patriarchal sacrifices were instituted by the Creator, it is reasonable to suppose that they were not positive and arbitrary requirements, with no hint of the reasons on which they were grounded — man’s dependence on omnipotent power and his exposure to offended justice. This revealed reason would involve the element of propitiation. But if sacrifices were the natural outgrowth of man’s religious nature — the expression of his deepest spiritual necessities — they must have had some reference to sin, the saddest fact in his consciousness. In either case, whether they were ordained of God or were spontaneous with man, the notion of expiation would not have been entirely absent.

At the same time it is reasonable to suppose that this idea was not distinct and prominent in the minds of the patriarchs, because the holiness of God had not yet been emphatically disclosed — that bright background on which the grim deformities of sin are portrayed. To the patriarchs God always turned the benignant and merciful side of his nature. He talks with Abraham as a friend, putting him quite at ease in his presence, and his wife laughs with incredulity while hearing the words of promise from the Lord’s lips. There is no inspiration of painful awe, no putting off the sandals to stand upon ground sanctified by the tread of the most holy Jehovah. From Adam to Moses there is no specific revelation of the holiness of the Supreme One. We look in vain in the book of Genesis, the record of patriarchal life, for the words holy and holiness as descriptive of the Divine character.

The hour for the revelation of this attribute did not arrive till the exiled Moses, at Horeb, turned aside from his flock to “see this great sight,” the bush burning yet not consumed. Exodus 3:3. The footsteps of the inquisitive Hebrew shepherd are suddenly arrested by the awful words, “Draw not nigh hither!” A new aspect of Jehovah’s nature is from this hour to be unfolded with ever-increasing splendour: “I am holy.” Sin having now, for the first time since the fall, its proper measure, becomes, by contrast, “exceeding sinful,” and needs to be purged from the conscience by blood distinctly expiatory.

We arrive at the same conclusion when we trace the history of man through the period in which he had only that internal sense of right and wrong called the unwritten law; which, indeed, constitutes him a subject of God’s moral government, and renders him amenable to the penalties of violated law, but is without that vivid apprehension of guilt which overwhelms his soul when that law, still legible within, takes on the form of an objective code written in stone by the finger of God amid the quakings of burning Horeb. Now, as never before, he regards himself as a sinner. “The law entered, that the offence might abound.” Romans 5:20. Now he needs relief from conscious guilt by a method of expiation bearing the unmistakable signature of his offended God. His forgiveness must be as authentically announced as his guilt has been glaringly demonstrated. Hence the provision for the typical purgation of the conscience is the logical sequence of the decalogue. Sinai has rendered the institution of the sin offering a necessity for the peace and salvation of the penitent sinner. 

Commentary on Leviticus.