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.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Leviticus 1:4-6

"And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. And he shall kill the bullock before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces." — Leviticus 1:4-6 KJV.

4. Put his hand upon the head — Or, press his hand, etc. The symbolism of this act is differently interpreted. But most writers are agreed that as the hand is the organ of transmission, the notion of communication is especially manifest in consecration or blessing. But in the burnt offering what is transmitted? Nothing, says Bahr; it is only “a renunciation of one’s own.” Hoffman asserts that it signifies the power of the offerer over the life of his victim. With Baumgarten and Kurtz we accept the idea of the transmission of the feelings of the man to the animal. As expiation, in verse 4, is expressly declared to be one function of the burnt offering, we conclude that guilt is symbolically transferred in the imposition of the hand formally and solemnly dedicating the victim to Jehovah as the substitute of the sinner.

To make atonement — The Hebrew word כַפֵּ֥ר (caphar) signifies primarily to cover over, to conceal sin, and hence to expiate, to forgive it. The word atonement occurs only once in the New Testament, (Romans 5:11,) and there signifies a change produced in our relation to God, a reconciliation, without indicating its nature or manner. But in the Old Testament it signifies an expiation — a propitiation in the New Testament sense. Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10. It includes the satisfaction of the law by suffering the penalty, and the conciliation of the Lawgiver by obedience to his precepts. For the character of the Old Testament forgiveness, see Temporal and Spiritual Benefits of Sacrifices.

For him — These words, occurring twice, strongly suggest the vicarious work of the great Redeemer, who was made a curse for us. Galatians 2:20; 3:13.

5. Shall kill — After the most searching scrutiny by the priest, if the animal was pronounced perfect, the offerer killed it, except when it was presented in behalf of the whole congregation; then it was killed by the high priest. Chap. 16:15.

The bullock — Literally, the son of a bull. The term ox is often used in a broad sense as describing sacrificial victims of the bovine genus, but in the narrow sense of modern parlance it is an improper term, since the ox is not a perfect male. See note on verse 3.

Before the Lord — Since Jehovah had deigned to take up his abode between the cherubim above the mercy seat in the holy of holies, the whole tabernacle, recently illumined with his glory, was filled with his special presence. Hence before the open door of the holy place, the court of the priests, was before the Lord

 The priests, Aaron’s sons — They had been designated (Exodus xxix) but not yet consecrated. Chap. 8.

Sprinkle the blood — Brought from the door of the tabernacle to the altar, it is to be copiously spilled upon the ground round about, upon the altar’s walls, and probably upon its top. The verb sprinkle here used is different from that employed to express the scattering of drops with the finger or hyssop. As no instrument for sprinkling is here specified, and as the same verb is used when all the blood of an ox, as here, and all the blood of a sheep, verse 11, are to be thus treated, we infer that the manner was by waving the basin and spilling the blood. For the ceremonial office of the blood see The Ceremonial Function of Blood.

6. He shall flay — It was the work of the offerer to kill, skin, and cut up the victim.

— Commentary on Leviticus.

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