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And Aaron lifted up his hand towards the people; and blessed them ; and came down from offeiing of the sin-offering, and the burnt-offering, and peace-offerings.
And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the peo.ple : and the glory of the Loud appeared unto all the people.
And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt-offering, and the fat: which when all the people law, they shouted, and fell Ob their faces. ^-' ,, , .• ,
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
From this section we may form a good idea of the nature of the Jewish sacrifices, and probably of the first sacrifices also offered by Cain and Abel, though the number of offences being multiplied, and a particular deliverance wrought for Israel, there were doubtless additional ceremonies. . .
The conditions of the sacrifices under the Mosaic Dispensation were, that the victims and offerings should be without blemish, and presented publicly before the congregation, in token that those for whom they were offered confessed themselves to be sinners, standing ia need of redemption. In the New Testament, we see, what exact analogy these particulars bore to Christ'; and we also find, that not only the victims, but the various sorts of sacrifices, bore an evident reference to Him. It was not the blood of bulls, or of goats, that took away sin*; but these animals were appointed as means of procuring, through faith in God's mercy, an interest in the blood of the Gkeat Redeemer, of
* Heb. x. 4.
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. whose hitman nature all the victims that were slain, according to the ordinances of Gob, from the time of Adam's fall to the crucifixion of our Saviour, were representatives ; and as God Jiad, even before the world was created, determined to accept of the death of the Redeem Ek, and knew that he would offer Himself on the cross for the redemption of mankind, it may properly be said, that Christ was slain from the foundation oftMe .world*, because His death operated, through Divine grace, long before it happened; God, for the "sake of -the salvation Ipi mankind, considering that as actually done, which he foreknew would be done.' • • Moses, by Divine appointment, as the Mediator of the T^iUpofaK Covenant, purified ;and consecrated the priests, and made atonement for them with the blood of beasts, so that they were fit to offer sacrifices; and the sacrifices they offered for themselves, expressive of their faith, procured them admittance into the earthly Tabernacle; but into the Tabernacle belonging to the Everlasting Covenant, not made with hands, which the Lord pitched, and not man, even Heaven itselff, none can enter, who are not purified by the Great Highipkiest nor 'twill any blood avail, but that of the Redeemer. the true Paschal Lamb. .-;
It is manifest, from this short view of the Jewish sacrifices, that, under the first Covenant, there was no re* .mission of sins, without shedding the blood of an innocent victim, byway of atonement for the guilt of a sinner; and we find from several texts of Scripture, that the first covenant was designed as a shadow of the Everlasting Covenant. We should steadfastly hold fast the doctrine of atonement for the sins of the world by the blood of Christ. It must appear evident, to un.. .i .:..>-. , * Rev. xiii. 8. f Heb. ix. 11, 12.
prejudiced reason, that we cannot clear ourselves from the guilt of sin ; for having once sinned, sinners we should remain for ever in the sight of God,, because we cannot call back our offences, nor do any thing to satisfy Divine justice; all our hopes of pardon then must arise from our reliance on the mercy of God ; and Goo has expressly revealed in the Scriptures, that it is in* consistent with His justice to clear the guilty, without atonement *: how foolish, then, would it be, to slight the means God has so graciously appointed for salvation, and render ineffectual, through unbelief, the blood of Christ, with which he hath redeemed us to Goor and opened a way to everlasting life, and happiness !—Had the Israelites despised ^he sacrifices which the Lord ordained, and relied on their own repentance only, they never could have obtained pardon, nor have been pprmitted to behold His glory on earth; and if we, who have been initiated into the Christian Covenant, despise the sacrificeof our Great Redeemer, we shall never behold him in Heaven.
OF THE SOLEMN FESTIVALS.
The Israelites were required to observe a variety of holy times, besides the weekly Sabbath, particularly three great festivals', viz. the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. The first of these was joined to the Passover, which, as has been already related, was kept in remem- . brance of the Lord's passing over the houses of the
* See Exort. xxxiv. 7.
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Israelites, when the first born of the Egyptians were destroyed.
The Feast of Pentecost, which was also called the Feast of Weeks, was the next: at this they offered the first produce of their wheat harvest, in acknowledgment that they were indebted to God's bounty for the increase of their corn.
The feast of Tabernacles was the third, celebrated when they had gathered in their corn and finits. The propriety of these institutions is so evident, that there is no need of a comment on them. These probably
made a part of the primitive religion of Mankind after
Besides those, were the Feast of the New Moons, the Feast of Trumpets, and the great Day of Atonement."
The first was designed to mark to the Israelites the beginning of every month; and the method of keeping it Wjs by blowing a silver trumpet over their sacrifices, to announce the appearnace of the new moon.
The feast of trumpets was observed with peculiar i^crifices, attended with a solemn blowing of trumpets; an holy asembly was kept, it was held at the beginning of the seventh month; this was counted the first month of the year for civil affairs, as that in which the passover we.s-kcpt was for religious matters
The great Day of Atonement was the tenth day of the seventh month; it was appointed as a day of general fasting and humiliation, repentance and atonement for all the people. On this day the high priest, dressed in his richest garments, attended at the door of the tabernacle, and after having made an atonement for himHf and hi* house, he took for the congregation two J ids of the goats, and a ram for a burnt-offering. When Vic had presented the former at the door of the tabernacle, nacle, he cast lots upon them, ono for the Lord and the other for the people : that goat which fell to the Lord's lot was killed and offered as a sin-offering, but .that for the people was preserved alive. The high priest *hen took a censer full of fire from the golden altar, and placed it as a symbol of the people's prayers on the mercy-seat, and having sprinkled tlie mercy-seat with the blood of the bullock, which had been slain as a sih. offering for himself and his house, he went out to kill the goat that was devoted to die, and performed the same ceremony with some of its blood. After this the' live goat was brought forth, and the High Priest laid his hands on its head, at the same time making a general confession over it of the people's sins ; as s0on as this was done the goat was sent away to a land uninhabited, and let loose in a wfldeincss. This was called the Sca/ie Goat, and he was a lively symbol of the Saviour of the woild, bearing the sin ef all mankind. On this day of the year alone the Hich Pkiest entered the Holy of Holies, as a type of the Gkeathigh Priest who, after having past the veil of flesh, entered into the Heaven of Heavens, and presented his own blood which had been shed as an atonement for the sins of the whole world*.
On the three great festivals all the males were to aftfear before the Lor D, to assemble togetherin that place where -the ark and the tabernacle were 'fixed. The Israelites reckoned their sabbaths, feasts, &c. from sunset one evening, till the same time the next. When they appeared before God at the great festivals, they were required to bring the tithe, or tenth part, of their corn, wine, and oil, and the first born of their cattle j • tot they themselves were to partake in eating rt, though