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.

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 6:14-30

"14 And this is the law of the meat offering: the sons of Aaron shall offer it before the LORD, before the altar. 15 And he shall take of it his handful, of the flour of the meat offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the meat offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour, even the memorial of it, unto the LORD. 16 And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat it. 17 It shall not be baken with leaven. I have given it unto them for their portion of my offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as is the sin offering, and as the trespass offering. 18 All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat of it. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations concerning the offerings of the LORD made by fire: every one that toucheth them shall be holy. 19 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 20 This is the offering of Aaron and of his sons, which they shall offer unto the LORD in the day when he is anointed; the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a meat offering perpetual, half of it in the morning, and half thereof at night. 21 In a pan it shall be made with oil; and when it is baken, thou shalt bring it in: and the baken pieces of the meat offering shalt thou offer for a sweet savour unto the LORD. 22 And the priest of his sons that is anointed in his stead shall offer it: it is a statute for ever unto the LORD; it shall be wholly burnt. 23 For every meat offering for the priest shall be wholly burnt: it shall not be eaten. 24 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 25 Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, saying, This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the LORD: it is most holy. 26 The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation. 27 Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy: and when there is sprinkled of the blood thereof upon any garment, thou shalt wash that whereon it was sprinkled in the holy place. 28 But the earthen vessel wherein it is sodden shall be broken: and if it be sodden in a brasen pot, it shall be both scoured, and rinsed in water. 29 All the males among the priests shall eat thereof: it is most holy. 30 And no sin offering, whereof any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of the congregation to reconcile withal in the holy place, shall be eaten: it shall be burnt in the fire." — Leviticus 6:14-30 KJV.

14. The meat offering — See Leviticus 2:1, note.

16. The remainder… shall Aaron and his sons eat — The reason of this requirement is “because it is most holy.” For a discussion of the question whether the priests were able to eat all the most holy things commanded them, see Concluding Note, chap. 7.

17. Not be baken with leaven — See Leviticus 2:4, note.

18. Statute for ever — Chap. 17, note. Every one that toucheth them shall be holy — This applies to persons and to things. The priest is forbidden to eat these oblations while ceremonially defiled, and the sacred utensils brought in contact with them must not be put to any secular use. Every layman who touched the most holy things became holy through contact, so that he must henceforth guard against defilement as scrupulously as the priests, but without their rights and prerogatives. This placed him in an awkward relation to secular things.

20. The offering of Aaron — Aaron, at his induction into the high priest’s office, and, according to Josephus, on every day of his continuance therein, and his successors, as we here interpret the words his sons, must offer three quarts of fine flour, half in the morning and half at night, as an oblation appropriate to the high priesthood. In the day — Some understand this to be only a consecratory oblation limited to one day; but those who credit the testimony of Josephus construe these words to signify from the day, or day by day.

21. In a pan… with oil — See Leviticus 2:5.

22. The priest of his sons — This justifies our note on verse 20, limiting the expression “his sons” to Aaron’s successors in the office of high priest as heads of the hierarchy. They had no technical designation in the Pentateuch — the word גָּד֨וֹל (gadhol), great, Leviticus 21:10, is not yet wholly technical — but were defined by the definite article the and the following relative clause. That is anointed — In the books subsequent to the Pentateuch we find the high priest indicated by the Hebrew words for great, or head. All the priests were anointed, but the high priest received a more copious unction. Leviticus 16:32; Psalm 133:1.

23. Wholly burnt… not be eaten —
Since it was a thank offering to Jehovah it would be improper for the priest to eat it. To appropriate it to himself after presenting it to the Lord would destroy the vital element of sacrifice, self-denial. This law applies to all offerings of the priest, especially to his sin offering, the eating of which would imply that he could atone for his own sins, and that he had no need of a substitute prefiguring “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” The sin offering for a private individual or for a prince was to be eaten by the priesthood. That for the whole nation, since the priests were included, could not be eaten.

25. Sin offering — See Leviticus 4, notes. Before the Lord — See Leviticus 1:3, note. It is most holy — Literally, it is holiness of holinesses; a strong form of Hebrew superlative. See Leviticus 2:3, note.

26. The priest… shall eat — God required the priests to eat the flesh in order that they might “bear (away, or expiate) the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them.” Leviticus 10:17. Eating symbolizes the complete reception of any thing. Jeremiah 15:16; John 6:51. Hence the priests, as God’s representatives, by their incorporation with the sin offering gave assurance of the completeness of the reconciliation, and demonstrated that the sacrifice which entirely removes guilt, is converted even into the nutriment of the holiest life. Jesus is both our propitiation and our bread of life. That offereth it for sin — Or expiates sin by it. The word expiates sin, in the Hebrew, is from the same radicals with sin offering. See 2 Corinthians 5:21.

27. Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof — Of this “most holy” sacrifice. No one but a consecrated person was knowingly allowed “to touch” or handle the offering. Shall be holy — Be deemed devoted to God’s service. When there is sprinkled upon any garment — Not intentionally, but accidentally, in the slaying of the sacrifice or otherwise. So sacred was the blood of the sin offering that not a drop was to be treated as common. Thou shalt wash… in the holy place — So that nothing connected with, or any wise belonging to, this holy service should be contaminated by contact with unsanctified persons or things. “As the sin offering in special sort figured Christ, who was made sin for us, (2 Corinthians 5:21,) so this ordinance taught a holy use of the mystery of our redemption.” The sacredness which was deemed to appertain to “the blood” of this most holy offering is strikingly typical of that most “precious blood” of our great sacrificial Victim of which Peter speaks in his epistle. 1 Peter 1:18, 19.

30. Blood… brought into the tabernacle — This refers to the sin offerings for the high priest and for the whole congregation, Leviticus 4:5, 16, the blood of which was brought into the tabernacle and the bodies burnt without the camp. The complete propitiation symbolized by the sprinkled blood and the flesh eaten by the priest could not be effected under the Levitical dispensation. When the flesh was eaten, the blood-sprinkling within the tabernacle was lacking; and when the blood was thus sacrificially treated, eating the flesh was prohibited. For the imperfection in the Old Testament remission of sins, see The Temporal and Spiritual Benefits of the Levitical Sacrifices. Jesus Christ made a complete atonement, having carried his blood into the holy place, “the true tabernacle,” and given his flesh to be the bread of eternal life to all believers. John 6:32-58.


(1.) Modern scepticism finds a difficulty in that portion of the ritual of the altar which requires that the priest should eat in the sanctuary those sacrifices pronounced “most holy.” They were of eight kinds: (1.) The flesh of the sin offering for private individuals and princes. Leviticus 6:25, 26. (2.) The flesh of the trespass offering. Leviticus 7:1-6. (3.) The peace offering of the whole congregation. Leviticus 23:19, 20. (4.) The remainder of the sheaf. Leviticus 23:10. (5.) The remnant of the meat offering. Leviticus 6:16. (6.) The two loaves. Leviticus 23:17. (7.) The show-bread. Leviticus 24:9. (8.) The log of oil offered by the leper. Leviticus 14:10. There were at least fifteen other sources of revenue; some to be eaten by the priest’s family and others which might be sold. The chief difficulty arises from the offerings to be eaten by the males only while they were very few in number, Aaron, his two sons, three in all, as Colenso assumes. The following considerations may throw some light upon this subject: (1.) In the natural order of events Aaron, the older brother of Moses, would have had grandsons when he was approaching ninety years. These, though not consecrated priests, were permitted to eat the most holy things. Leviticus 7:6. (2.) The sacrifices were probably very infrequent till after the conquest of Canaan. Some writers infer from Amos 5:25, 26, the omission of all legal sacrifices in the wilderness. (3.) There is positive proof that the Levites, numbering more than eight thousand, (Numbers 4:48,) did eat of the fire-sacrifices, by some broad construction of the law. Joshua 13:14. Possibly the tasting of each sacrifice by the priest, and its assignment to the Levites on guard about the tabernacle, was a constructive priestly eating of the offerings. (4.) It seems to have been overlooked by all the objectors that “the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank,” (Genesis 32:32,) and that the modern Jews not knowing what sinew this was, nor even which thigh was dislocated, judge it obligatory upon them to abstain from both the hind-quarters, the largest portion of the animal. It is reasonable to suppose that the modern Israelites are copying the practice of their fathers in the days of Moses, which, by virtue of its traditional authority, did not need to be enforced by a positive statute. These suggestions, while they do not entirely remove all objections, very much alleviate the difficulties of this subject.

(2.) A careful study of the law of sacrifices, in which provisions so ample are made for those who minister about holy things, would enforce upon the Christian Church the duty of affording an adequate support to the Gospel ministry, in accordance with St. Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 9:7-14, showing that in this particular Judaism was an exemplar to Christianity.

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.


Thursday, August 17, 2023

Leviticus 6:1-7 (Trespass Offering)

"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour; Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering. And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein." —  Leviticus 6:1-7 KJV.


The division of the subject of the trespass offering made at this point by the unwise arrangement of the chapters in the Authorized Version is very much to be regretted. The Jews, who, with a few variations, have adopted the modern chapters and verses, have here very wisely retained their ancient division of the sections of the law by extending chapter 5 to Leviticus 6:7, the end of the trespass offering. We perceive that the recent revisers of our English Bible have so far corrected the arrangement of this chapter as, by a marginal note, to intimate the true ending of the chapter: so conforming it to the division of the Hebrew Bible.


2. Trespass — See Leviticus 5:15, note. Against the Lord — Every crime against man is also a sin against God, his Creator. The creature cannot be wronged without offending his Maker. Every violation of the second table of the law by acts flowing from a lack of love to our neighbour transgresses also the requirement of the first table, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” And lie — Or deny that the goods or money were delivered him to keep as a trust, or in fellowship — As a pledge or security. The Hebrew word improperly translated fellowship, is used in the Bible only in this verse. It is followed by the word hand, and is a deposit in the hand, that is, in pledge. Two kinds of deposit are practised by man, both of which are spoken of here. We deposit money with the banker because we trust him, or securities with the money-lender, because we wish him to trust us. Deceived his neighbour — This means oppressed, as the violence in the preceding clause signifies downright robbery.

3. Found… lost — The Roman code was evidently the voice of the same Divine Legislator speaking the same words through nature as he spake to Moses in the tabernacle. By that code he who found and appropriated any property was punished as a thief, whether he knew the owner or not. A brief statute of Solon was, “Take not up what you laid not down.” Property as a natural right, without which civilization would be annihilated and the human race become extinct, finds ample safeguards in the Holy Scriptures. Sweareth falsely — Avarice is the mother of lying and perjury.

4. He shall restore — Fruits mete for repentance are required before ceremonialism; mercy, or a right state of heart, before sacrifice. Thus the Philippian jailer washed the stripes of Christ’s ambassadors before he received baptism at their hands. Where restitution is possible, it must be immediately made; where it is not immediately possible, it must be solemnly promised, and the promise must be performed as soon as practicable.

5. In the principal — The property itself or its full value must be restored, with the addition of the fifth part, as a compensation to the injured party, as a penalty for the unjust deed, and as a motive to honesty in the future. In the day of his trespass offering — In the day his offering is to be presented. The reconciliation with the injured party must be made before the offering can be accepted. See note on Matthew 5:23, 24. The marginal reading of the Authorized Version, “in the day of his being found guilty,” is barely possible according to the Hebrew, but it is not suitable to this passage. No reference is had here to conviction by a criminal court, but to a conviction by the condemning voice of conscience.

6. Unto the Lord — Much the most solemn aspect of every evil deed is the side which is contemplated by the moral Governor of the world. The offender must be brought to a vivid realization of the damage done to the cause of religion and the reproach which he has cast upon his God. There must be an atonement to Jehovah as well as a compensation to his fellow-man. Estimation — See note on Leviticus 5:15.

7. It shall be forgiven him — After voluntary confession, restitution, compensation, and presentation of his trespass offering for a propitiation for his sin, he might trust in the mercy of God for forgiveness. For the nature of this forgiveness, see Temporal and Spiritual Benefits of Sacrifices.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Jesus & the Sabbath

QUESTION: Why did not Jesus change the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week?

ANSWER: The day before his death he said to his disciples, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when he, the spirit of truth, shall come, he will guide you into all truth." We may infer what some of these unspoken precepts were from certain hints that Jesus let fall from his lips, and from certain things highly prized by the Jews which he much disliked. He disliked the unreasonable and unmerciful rigor of the Jewish Sabbath and strongly leaned toward alleviation. If it was his purpose to let the sunshine into its gloom by changing the day from the seventh to the first, so as to disassociate it from its Jewish severity, he would have lost the few disciples who still clung to him after "many of his disciples went away backward and walked no more with him," leaving him uttering this pathetic question, "Ye will not go away, too, will you?" The best he could prudently do to effect this desired change was to refer it to the dispensation of the Paraclete with this suggestive declaration: "The Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath." Hence we are not surprised to learn that the Pentecostal Church began the practice of keeping the resurrection day — called by John the Lord's day — which became so general after three centuries as to require the enactment of the civil Sabbath by Constantine on the first day. The Holy Spirit could in three centuries gradually do without damage to the faith of Jewish converts what Jesus could not do in three years without forfeiting the confidence of his little handful of followers and, dying, leave not one disciple on the earth.

— From Steele's Answers pp 8,9.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Leviticus 5:7-19 (Trespass Offering)

 "And if he be not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring for his trespass, which he hath committed, two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, unto the LORD; one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering. And he shall bring them unto the priest, who shall offer that which is for the sin offering first, and wring off his head from his neck, but shall not divide it asunder: And he shall sprinkle of the blood of the sin offering upon the side of the altar; and the rest of the blood shall be wrung out at the bottom of the altar: it is a sin offering. And he shall offer the second for a burnt offering, according to the manner: and the priest shall make an atonement for him for his sin which he hath sinned, and it shall be forgiven him. But if he be not able to bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, then he that sinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall put no oil upon it, neither shall he put any frankincense thereon: for it is a sin offering. Then shall he bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it, even a memorial thereof, and burn it on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the LORD: it is a sin offering. And the priest shall make an atonement for him as touching his sin that he hath sinned in one of these, and it shall be forgiven him: and the remnant shall be the priest’s, as a meat offering. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the LORD; then he shall bring for his trespass unto the LORD a ram without blemish out of the flocks, with thy estimation by shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass offering: And he shall make amends for the harm that he hath done in the holy thing, and shall add the fifth part thereto, and give it unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him. And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity. And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and wist it not, and it shall be forgiven him. It is a trespass offering: he hath certainly trespassed against the LORD." — Leviticus 5:7-19 KJV.

7. Not able to bring a lamb — For the adjustment of the Divine requirements to human ability, see Leviticus 1:14, note. One for a sin offering — This brings the sinner into reconciliation with God. The other for a burnt offering — This typifies the complete consecration of the reconciled sinner, soul, body, and spirit, unto Him who hath redeemed him with his precious blood. The sin sacrifice symbolically brings the penitent offerer into the state of justification, and the whole burnt sacrifice, in like manner, initiates him into entire sanctification.

8. The sin offering first — This direction is important, as it determines the order of the sacrifices. See The Order of the Levitical Sacrifices.

10. According to the manner — See Leviticus 1. 13-17.

11. Turtledoves… pigeons — See chap. 1, notes, also see: The Sacrificial Animals in Leviticus.

The tenth… ephah… flour — The most impoverished person was supposed to be able to present three quarts of sifted wheat or barley flour for the disburdening of his conscience. No oil… neither… frankincense — The addition of these would make a מִנְחָה (mincha), or bread offering, Leviticus 2:2, a eucharistic sacrifice, which could be offered only by one in a state of acceptance with God. The sinner must secure pardon before he offers praise. Says Kurtz: “Oil and incense symbolized the Spirit of God and the prayers of the faithful; the meat offering, always good works; but these are then only good works and acceptable to God when they proceed from the soil of a heart truly sanctified. The sin offering, however, was pre-eminently the atonement offering; the idea of atonement came out so prominently that no room was left for others. The consecration of the person, and the presentation of his good works, to the Lord, had to be reserved for another stage in the sacrificial institute.” How strikingly this corroborates the Wesleyan doctrine of entire sanctification as a work distinct from justification. Jesus, the great Sin Offering, so fills the vision of the penitent sinner that there is no room for the consideration of his other office, by which he is made unto the believer “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification.”


15. Commit a trespass — This is the first time that the word מַ֔עַל, to act treacherously, or to be faithless, is found in the Bible. By the use of a new term the sacred writer speaks of a peculiar kind of moral delinquency which flows from human infirmity, neglect, or cowardice. Holy things of the Lord — This relates to deficiencies in the tithes, firstfruits, sacrifices, vows, redemption of the firstborn, and other sources of revenue to the priests, which have occurred through forgetfulness or negligence. Those who had erroneous judgments or short memories in respect to their dues to the house of God — a numerous class, which, unfortunately, did not become extinct with Judaism — were to be enlightened and convicted of their delinquencies, and excited to make amends and seek forgiveness. With thy estimation — The person addressed is Moses, who here represents the priest. The “estimation” is the assessed amount of the deficiency, which, with a fifth added, and a perfect ram besides for a sin offering, was deemed a sufficient indemnity for the past and safeguard for the future. When we see the sin “in the holy things of the Lord” committed by careless or covetous Christians, we are inclined to wish that the Gospel were a system of precepts instead of principles — precepts prescribing the exact payment of a certain proportion of income to the Lord’s treasury, instead of broad principles easily forgotten or misapplied. Yet the Gospel, the law of liberty, has its compensations in the many noble characters which this system of spiritual freedom develops, while the preceptory religion of the Hebrews sadly failed to eradicate that “covetousness which is idolatry.” Malachi 3:8-10.

17. If a soul sin… though he wist it not — The case described in verses 17-19 differs from the preceding in the fact that this sin of ignorance never comes to knowledge, while there is ground for suspecting that the sin may have been committed. In this case the person is not to give himself the benefit of the doubt, but he should make amends for the hypothetical delinquency. The example cited by the rabbins is that of a person who has grounds for suspecting that he has eaten suet, or fat of the inwards, intermingled with other food. His conscience can be relieved of the doubt only by bringing a ram as a trespass offering. Thus that principle is divinely established which is cogently argued by Bishop Butler, namely, that doubt in religious matters involves proof enough to incite to the performance of religious duties, and to criminate the doubter if he refuses. See Romans 14:23.


Opponents of that central doctrine of both the Levitical and Christian dispensations, the vicarious atonement, endeavour to invalidate it by an objection drawn from this chapter, namely, the prominence given to defilements not moral, but merely bodily and external, as contact with the carcass of an unclean beast. But an attentive examination will show that this prominence is seeming rather than real. These ceremonial impurities appear to be of the greatest importance, because they are minutely defined and broadly spread out before the reader. But it will be found that the mention of them is only supplementary, lest the people should suppose that such comparatively trifling offences against the law of purity were not included. This must be evident to him who reads the preceding chapter, where it is said in regard to the priest, the prince, the congregation, and the private individual, if they sin “against any of the commandments of God,” let the prescribed sin offering be made. Here it requires no minute definition of sin, since the decalogue had been written on the tables of stone, a visible expression of the older decalogue written on the tablets of the heart. It was impossible for the Hebrews to understand “the commandments of God” in any other sense than the moral precepts and prohibitions given on Mount Sinai. These were prominently before their minds, and for infractions of these chiefly was the blood of the victims to be shed. Again, when the symbolical nature of ceremonial institutions shall be correctly unfolded, there will be found a moral element deeply embodied in them, for the sake of which alone these shadowy rites were instituted, the uncleanness of a man prefiguring the filthiness of “the flesh and spirit,” and the dead body fore-showing the natural corruption of the unregenerate heart, styled by St. Paul, “the body of this death.”

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Leviticus 5:1-6 (Trespass Offering)

 "And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity. Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcase of an unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty. Or if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever uncleanness it be that a man shall be defiled withal, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty. Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty in one of these. And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing: And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin." — Leviticus 5:1-6 KJV.




Commentators have found it difficult to draw a well-defined line between the חַטָּאת (chattath) — the sin offering — and the אָשֵׁם (asham) — the trespass offering; the latter is for sins of ignorance or inadvertence as well as the former. The only exception is the case of falsehood, fraud, and voluntary silence when justice calls for testimony. Even these, usually the offspring of fear or some other weakness, would be regarded by Archbishop Magee as sins of ignorance. Leviticus 4:2, note. Some discriminate the trespass offering from the sin offering by attaching reparation of injuries to the former, as the restoration of goods fraudulently gotten; but this can apply only to a few of the sins for which the trespass offering is designed. Gesenius frankly admits that “the precise point of distinction between the two kinds of faults or sins has hitherto been sought in vain.” See verse 6, note. The אָשֵׁם (asham) is used for the offence as well as for its expiatory offering. It then signifies guiltiness, (Genesis 26:10;) sin, (Jeremiah 51:5; Proverbs 14:9;) and trespasses, (Psalm 68:21.) The Seventy have never translated אָשֵׁם (asham) by ἁμαρτία (hamartia), sin, but generally by some such soft word as πλημμελεια (plhmmeleia), mistake, or ἄγνοια (agnoia), ignorance. The Hebrew does not justify this exclusive rendering, as an examination of the above passages will show. The soul or life of the “Man of sorrows” was made an אָשֵׁם (asham), a trespass offering. Isaiah 53:10.


1. Hear the voice of swearing — This does not refer to profaning the Divine name, but to the case of a witness who hears the magistrate adjuring the people to utter the truth for the promotion of justice. If he do not utter — If he refuses to testify. This is not perjury, but a suppressio veri, a withholding of the truth, which in law is regarded as culpable as the suggestion of a falsehood. Since justice depends on evidence, concealment of evidence is indicative of a sympathy with injustice. Bear his iniquity — The right word is used; it is iniquityin-equity — a crime against right, the primordial basis of human society, which would be subverted by the universal practice of keeping back evidence. The iniquity which he shall bear is that which he screens from punishment by his silence. He has made himself a partaker of the crime.


2. If a soul touch — The soul is here put for the entire man. Any unclean thing — It is difficult for those who have not been ceremonially trained from infancy to group together things differing so widely as the moral turpitude just mentioned and the accidental and innocent contact with a dead mouse or snail, (Leviticus 11:23-43;) yet in the religious development and discipline of the Hebrews there was a perpetual commingling of offences, arbitrary, factitious, and temporal, with immutable and eternal moral principles. It is not for us to deny that this period of ceremonial pupilage was necessary. Things which would be unsuited to the Gospel dispensation, and even ridiculous in contrast with its spiritual sublimities, have their proper place in a law of temporal sanctions, chiefly or solely affecting the present life only. Shall be unclean — He was cut off for the time from certain religious and social privileges, and his citizenship in Israel was in abeyance. From these disadvantages, certain ritualistic acts alone could free him. These were not required in order to magnify the office of the priest, but to impress upon the people a sense of the personality and holiness of God, and of the reality of his covenant. In shadow they suggested the necessity of a spiritual cleansing from moral pollution. Guilty — The verb אָשֵׁם (asham) here expresses a different idea from the iniquity committed by the silent witness of wrong. It signifies primarily to be desert, to lie waste; hence, as applied to man, to fail in duty.


4. If a soul swear… to do evil — This refers to an inconsiderate vow. In the light of subsequent knowledge it is found that the performance of the vow would be evil. In this dilemma he must refrain from that evil deed. Nevertheless his broken vow must be accounted a fault to be atoned for by a trespass offering. Or to do good — The good may have become impracticable by reason of circumstances hid from him when the vow was made, or because of neglect or procrastination till the opportunity has passed by. Keil extends the inadvertency in oaths to any thing affirmed with an oath without due reflection, and afterwards discovered to be a deviation from the truth.

5. He shall confess — Confession is the natural expression of true penitence, breaking down pride and promoting the virtue of humility, an essential of true piety. For the traditional form of confession, see note on Leviticus 4:4. Sinned in that thing — The public acknowledgment of specific sins is much more difficult than the vague confession of sinfulness, easily made, because it does not isolate the sinner from a sinful race. While a general confession of sins is required, there are occasions demanding their individual and specific disclosure both to God and man.


6. Trespass offering… sin offering — These are here apparently used as equivalent or convertible terms. This constitutes the difficulty of discriminating between them confessed by Gesenius. He has scriptural grounds for viewing them as essentially identical in Leviticus 7:7, where it is said “as is the sin offering so is the trespass offering, there is one law for them.” Keil endeavours to maintain a difference by denying that אָשֵׁם (asham), trespass offering, or rather guilt or debt offering, in this verse and the following, “means either guilt offering or debitum, (Knobel,) but culpa, guilt, or delictum, offence. But this meaning would not make good sense if substituted for trespass offering in this verse. Keil reads the next verse thus: “he shall bring as his guilt, that is, for the expiation of his guilt.” This is approved by Fairbairn, who resolves this double star into two distinct orbs by assuming that the אָשֵׁם, as an offering, is not spoken of till verse 14, and then is limited to offences admitting of some sort of an estimation and recompense, and quotes Numbers 5:5-8 in proof. This view is now generally concurred in, also, by Hengstenberg, Keil, Bahr, Kurtz, and others. Professor Murphy’s distinction is this, in brief: in propitiation are two distinct things — expiation, the payment of the penalty, and satisfaction, the performance of the righteousness due to the law. The sin offering typifies chiefly the expiation, and the trespass offering the obedience or satisfaction. Every moral offence is both a sin and a trespass, hence both offerings may be made for the same act. But, if this theory be correct, both offerings ought to be made for every sin, in order to its perfect propitiation.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Previous Sins & Christian Ministry

QUESTION: Is it right to refuse to license a man to preach the Gospel because of sins committed before his conversion — since which God has forgiven?

ANSWER: There are sins which cast a long shadow after they have been forgiven, by reason of which I should not vote for a man's admission to the sacred office of the Christian ministry. If Aaron Burr, the grandson of President Jonathan Edwards, had been soundly converted after killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel, and had applied for a license to preach, the church which refused his application would have acted wisely. If St. Augustine, who was converted after he had become the father of a illegitimate son, had not been permitted to enter the priesthood because of this sin of his youth, no wrong would have been done to him. It would have been an unfortunate disability. If after a matrimonial shipwreck by a divorce and a second marriage a man should be converted and ask to be ordained to the Christian ministry while the first wife is still living, the church would be justified in saying to him, we have confidence in your Christian character, but we prefer that you should be a layman and not a preacher. Among Gentile converts were some polygamists, who it seems were baptized and received into the church, but when they wished to become ordained ministers, Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, laid down the law for all future generations: "Let the deacons be husbands of one wife," i.e., only one at a time.

— From Steele's Answers pp. 7,8.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Woman's Sphere in the Church (1875)

This is not limited to the duties of the family or household, since she is often by nature and grace pre-eminently adapted for a wider service. Hence women were employed as prophets, that is, in the sense of public religious teachers, including the higher ministerial duties, as appears from the rank next after apostles . I Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11. Compare Acts 2:17-18; 21:9; Rom. 16:1-2. So in the Old Testament. Exod. 15:20; Judg. 4:4; II Kings 22:14; Num. 11:29.          

Compare also Ps. 68:11, where the true rendering is, of the women preachers there was a great host; which accords with the wish of Moses, Num. 11:29, and of Paul, I Cor. 14:5.

Some have understood Paul as prohibiting women teaching. I Cor. 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2: 11-12. But he evidently refers to such only as prayed and prophesied unveiled, as appears 1 Cor. 11:5-13. Paul in this had respect simply to the usage of society, as was his custom in matters of indifference. I Cor. 9:19-23. To say that his prohibition applies alike to all times and conditions of society, is to say that the prudential regulations of a degraded heathen people, eighteen hundred years ago, are universally binding, and that Christianity in this respect has wrought no change in the world it came to reform. Paul surely had a different estimate of woman service. Rom. 16:1-7, 12-15. His first public discourse in Europe was at a meeting of women, and his first convert and host was a woman. Acts 16:9-15. 

There is indisputable scriptural and historical proof that subordinate official position was accorded to women in the apostolic Church:-            

1. The correct translation of Rom. 16:1-2, shows that Phebe was a deacon of the Church and a patron of many-the original of patron being radically the same as is rendered, he that ruleth, in chap. 12:8. (182. What is said of his estimate of women? Was official position accorded to her? What is said of Phebe? What exposition of Rom. 16:1-2?) of Deacons not only minister to the sick and needy, but from Phil. 1:1, and I Tim. 3:2, 8, we infer that they preached and discharged other spiritual functions subordinate to the elders or bishops, who correspond to the pastors of modern times.           

2. The rules of conduct laid down for women in I Tim. 3:11, and Titus 2:3, have been referred to the deaconesses by a series of eminent commentators from Chrysostom to Alford.           

3. Dr. Schaff and other scholars interpret the words, "let not a widow be taken into the number," I Tim.5:9. Let not a widow be elected and ordained under threescore years old.           

4. From Titus 2:3-4, we learn that women were employed as teachers in the direct personal application of Christian truth.           

5. Pliny, a few years later, speaks of the order of deaconesses as exercising, in relation to their own sex, functions analogous to those of the deacons.           

The history of the early Christian Church confirms this statement, and adds, also, that women baptized. Signal honors are recorded of woman's devotion to Christ and his cause. Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 12:41-44; Luke 10:38-42. She was first to preach the actual advent of the promised Messiah, both to the Jews and to the Samaritans. Luke 2:36-38; John 4:28, etc.; and first to preach the risen Savior to his doubting apostles. Matt. 28:7-9, 17.

"Not she, with traitorous kiss, her Savior stung; — Luke 22:47-48.
Not she denied him with unholy tongue; — Matt. 26:69-75.
She, while apostles shrank, could danger brave: —Matt. 26:56
Last at the cross, and earliest at his grave." — Matt. 27:55-56 28:1.

— From: Amos Binney & Daniel Steele, Binney's Theological Compend Improved (1875).

ADDENDUM: And, for those who would like to see a list of women who were leaders in the Wesleyan movements prior to 1900, see this: Kevin Jackson: Women Leaders in the Wesleyan Movements.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Leviticus 4:13-35 (Sin Offering) with Concluding Notes

"And if the whole congregation of Israel sin through ignorance, and the thing be hid from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which should not be done, and are guilty; When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, then the congregation shall offer a young bullock for the sin, and bring him before the tabernacle of the congregation. And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the LORD: and the bullock shall be killed before the LORD. And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the bullock’s blood to the tabernacle of the congregation: And the priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD, even before the vail. And he shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar which is before the LORD, that is in the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall pour out all the blood at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he shall take all his fat from him, and burn it upon the altar. And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them. And he shall carry forth the bullock without the camp, and burn him as he burned the first bullock: it is a sin offering for the congregation.

"When a ruler hath sinned, and done somewhat through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD his God concerning things which should not be done, and is guilty; Or if his sin, wherein he hath sinned, come to his knowledge; he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a male without blemish: And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD: it is a sin offering. And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering. And he shall burn all his fat upon the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him.

"And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty; Or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay the sin offering in the place of the burnt offering. And the priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar. And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour unto the LORD; and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him. And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering, he shall bring it a female without blemish. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering. And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar: And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of the peace offerings; and the priest shall burn them upon the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the LORD: and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him. —  Leviticus 4:13-35 KJV.


13. Whole congregation… sin — It is not to be supposed that so great a multitude should each be guilty of the same inadvertent sin, except it be some defect in worship or some deviation from the letter of the law arising out of their peculiar circumstances, as in 1 Samuel 14:32-35. It is this presumptive sin of the whole congregation of Christian worshippers which renders it eminently appropriate for the Lord’s Prayer, with its petition for forgiveness of debts, to be repeated in every assembly. The sin of the whole congregation was to be expiated in the same way with the sin of the priest, except that the elders, as their representatives, laid their hands upon the victim.

20. Make… atonement for them — The radical significance of this term is to cover the sinner from the holiness of God lest he be consumed because of his sin. The term atonement in the Old Testament corresponds not to the Greek of which atonement is the translation in Romans 5:11, καταλλαγὴν (katallaghn), reconciliation, or a state of harmonized variance, irrespective of the means, but to propitiation, ἱλαστήριον (ilasthrion), (Romans 3:25,) and ἱλασμὸν (ilasmov). 1 John 2:2; 4:10. See note on Leviticus 1:4. It shall be forgiven — For the nature of the Old Testament forgiveness, see The Temporal and Spiritual Benefits of the Levitical Sacrifices.


22. A ruler — This term signifies any high political officer, especially the heads of the tribes, or phylarchs. The rabbins generally understand that under the monarchy it referred only to the king. The ritual for a prince is like that for the priest and for the congregation, except that the victim was a kid of the goats, and that the fat was burned as was that of the peace offering. Instead of being burnt without the camp, the flesh was to be eaten by the priest. Leviticus 6:26.


The only difference between the method of expiating the sin of a private person and that of a ruler is, that the offering of the former being a female kid is supposed to be inferior to that of the ruler.


(1.) 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 guilt, on the one hand, and right and innocence 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. The punishment of such sins by human judicatories, it is asserted, would be an outrage against which every good man would cry out. Nevertheless, so great are the interests intrusted 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 misapprehension of the hour of the day, has the draw open when the express train arrives. These are inadvertent sins which men regard and punish as crimes. Now what the exigencies of human society require in a few cases, the perfect moral government of God demands in all cases — satisfaction for involuntary sins. But there is this difference. God 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. Acts 17:30. Hence the law of God is more merciful than the law of man, which, in the cases specified, makes 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 fact accompanied by the institution of the sin offering.

(2.) Though a well-meant mistake does not defile the conscience and bring the soul into condemnation, it nevertheless demands a penitent confession and a presentation of the great Sin Offering unto a God of absolute holiness. The refusal to do this, since the sin offering is 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 ignorance 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 these involuntary transgressions.” 

Hence Chas. Wesley sings, 

“Every moment, Lord, I want
The merit of thy death.”

(3.) The Jewish teachers were thorough literalists, as is seen in their definition of the sin of ignorance: 1.) It must be involuntary. 2.) Against a prohibition. 3.) An outward act and not a word or a thought. 4.) The deed must be worthy of capital punishment when wilfully committed. We believe that this is taking too narrow a view of the broad field of inadvertent sins. The New Testament here illumines the Old. In Acts 3:17, St. Peter, after boldly charging the Jewish authorities with the denial of the Holy One and the Just, the liberation of a murderer, and the killing of the Prince of life, throws the mantle of charity over these flagrant and wilful sins by saying, “Brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.” Then after having brought their sins within the efficacy of the great sin offering, if they will avail themselves of the blood of sprinkling, he exhorts them to repent that their sins may be blotted out. Peter speaks in the same strain in his epistolary exhortation to the Church not to fashion themselves “according to the former lusts in your ignorance.” 1 Peter 1:14. St. Paul repeatedly palliates his wilful sin of violent persecution of the Church by the declaration that he did it ignorantly. 1 Timothy 1:13; Acts 26:9. Hence Archbishop Magee infers that the sin of ignorance “includes all such as were the consequence of human frailty and inconsideration, whether committed knowingly and wilfully, or otherwise. It stands opposed to sins committed with a high hand, (Numbers 15:22-31,) that is, deliberately and presumptuously, for which no atonement was admitted. So that the efficacy of the atonement was extended to all sins which flowed from the infirmities and passions of human nature, and was withheld only from those which sprang from deliberate and audacious defiance of the Divine authority. “This view is also confirmed by the example given of particular sins which called for the atonement — fraud, lying, rash swearing or perjury, and licentiousness.” This throws light upon the sin “for which there is no more sacrifice,” (Hebrews 10:26-29;) the sin unto death, (1 John 5:16;) the irremissible sin, (Mark 3:29;) and clearly identifies it with the sin committed “with a high hand” for which the “soul shall be utterly cut off.” The contrast between the two Testaments, which makes the Old the embodiment of unmitigated severity and the New the impersonation of mercy, is groundless. There is mercy in the dispensation of the law; there is in the dispensation of grace “the wrath of the Lamb” flashing out to consume incorrigible offenders.

(4.) The diversity in the victims appointed for sin offerings was evidently intended to mark the different degrees of offensiveness in the sin to be atoned, except the alternative conceded to poverty. Thus we have an ascending scale: a female kid, or pair of pigeons, a male kid, a young bullock, respectively, for a private person, a prince, a high priest, or the whole people, show that the heinousness of sin increases with the rank and number of the transgressors. “Begin at my sanctuary.” Ezekiel 9:6.