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priest to do in figure for all the children of Israel, that God now requires no more offering for sin, and that we have therefore boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and a living way which he hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, by his own flesh.
Having then such an High Priest over the house of God, we can draw near with a true heart, in full assurance, having our hearts sprinkled, so that instead of an evil we have the answer of a good conscience by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."
This is that profession of faith, which from a full conviction of his faithfulness who hath promised, we are exhorted to hold fast without wavering.
First, The high priest was to be clothed with the garment ordained for his use; so also was Christ. Secondly, He was to be anointed with oil; and was not Jesus Christ anointed with oil? See Acts iv. 27. "For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israelwere gathered together." Again, Psalm xlv. 7. "Thou lovest righteousness and hatest wickedness; therefore God, thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.". And again, Hebrews i. 9. "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." And this is spoken to that adorable character to whom in the eighth verse of this chapter he saith, "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom."
This anointing was said to be an everlasting priesthood.. Exodus xl. 15, "And thou shalt anoint them as thou didst anoint their Father, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations." Thus is Emmanuel a priest forever, and of his sacerdotal office there shall be no end.
Thirdly, The high priest before he entered upon his office was washed with water, synonimous with being baptized; so was our Saviour. Listen to this sacred, this adorable High Priest, about to descend into the waters of Jordan. Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.
Fourthly, The Israelitish high priest, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and who was consecrated to put on the garments should not cover his head nor rent his clothes. Thus
Emmanuel, our great High Priest, him whose glory we behold as the glory of the Father, as his express image, must not cover his head, nor in his death were his garments without seam, rent, or divided. Blessed be God for the substance of this expressive figure; the garment belonging to our immaculate High-Priest, must not be, and was not rent. Thou shalt clothe thee with the people as with a garment, they shall not be separated from thee.
Fifthly, The priests under the Mosaic dispensation offered the sacrifices which made peace for the offenders-Thus did our glorious High Priest, when he offered up himself a full and complete sacrifice for the sins of the whole world; and having made peace by the blood of his cross, he accomplished in perfection, this part of his priestly office.
Sixthly, The priest was to examine, judge and determine the situation of those afflicted by the plague of leprosy, and when on examination, the disease was found to have entered deep into the flesh, then the priest pronounced him utterly unclean; and the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering on his upper lip, and shall say unclean, unclean. So, exactly so, the great antitype of this figure having carefully examined our ruined nature, confirms the testimony of the prophet Isaiah, who pronounces in the sixty-fourth chapter and sixth verse of his prophecy, "That we are all as an unclean thing, and that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." Our Saviour, I say, decidedly confirms this testimony, when he says, "There is none good but one, that is God."
Seventhly, The priest was to act the part of a physician in curing the leper-And is not the blessed Redeemer the physician of value? When the Pharisees murmured at his eating with publicans and sinners, he emphatically pronounces, They who are whole need not a physician, but they who are sick.
Eighthly, The priest in cleansing the leper was to go out of the camp, and he was commanded to take for him who was to be cleansed, two living birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop, and the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel, over running water, and for the living bird he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them, and the living bird, in the blood of the bird killed over the running or living water, and he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean.
And the priest shall put of the blood of the trespass-offering upon the top of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot. And the priest shall take of the oil, made use of in the meat-offering, and pour into the palm of his left hand, and the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the Lord, and of the rest of the oil that is in his hand, shall the priest put upon the right ear, right hand, and right foot of the person to be cleansed, and the remnant of the oil in the priest's hand, he shall pour on the head of him that is to be cleansed, and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD.
All this Jesus of Nazareth, the great High Priest of our profession, has done in the aggregate, and will do individually. Birds are heavenly inhabitants that swim in air, fowls that fly in the midst of heaven. Fallen spirits are described as unclean birds, who, for a season may lodge in the branches. In the business of cleansing the unclean, two clean birds were to be selected, taken alive; the one to be slain, but on the leper being cleansed, the living bird was to be taken, and let loose in the open field. May not the combination of these two birds, exhibit the two fold character of him who died for our offences; while the one remained in death, the other was quickened in the spirit, and in spirit preached to spirits, as we are informed by the Apostle Peter? Or may it not intend Christ dying for us, as the one, and ever living for us, as the other? Or Jesus as one of the people, the seed of the woman suffering death, and we his brethren, though united to him, yet in our individual characters escaping death?
But with these birds there was to be cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. The incorruptible, beautiful, solid cedar; the blazing scarlet, and the purifying hyssop. The table cloth of the table of shew bread, was blue, but the cloth which covered the provision that table contained, was scarlet; these colours, scarlet and blue, were combined in the sacerdotal garment. The one perhaps emblematic of courage, and the other of constancy. It was a line of scarlet thread, that the preserver of the spies was directed to bind in her window. Solomon's virtuous woman was not afraid of the snow, when her household was clothed with scarlet.. The lips of the spouse are like a thread of scarlet, her speech is comely. Belshazzar promised that whoever could read the writing, and
show the interpretation thereof, should be clothed with scarlet. The Prophet Nahum pronounces the shield of his mighty men to be red. The valiant men are in scarlet, and when the enemies of our Saviour mocked him, they clad him in a robe of arlet and a crown of thorns; and when Moses had proclaimed to the people the precepts of the divine law, he took the blood with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people. "Purge me, therefore," says the Psalmist, "with hyssop and I shall be clean."
Thus, in the cleansing of the leper, is exhibited a figure of incorruption, glory, and purity; and our great High Priest, when cleansing our polluted souls, unfolds to our view immortality, glory, and unspotted rectitude.
The bird that was killed, was killed in an earthen vessel. So the death appointed to be our life, took place in the human nature! But it was to be performed over running or living water. Thus was Emmanuel constantly through all his sufferings, attended by the Holy Spirit, who was with him in his death. And he seems to acknowledge this figure, when he says, John, vii. 38, 39:
"He that believeth on me, as the scriptures hath said, Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
"But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified."
The priest was directed to sprinkle the diseased person seven times, and then to pronounce him clean, and says, the head of every man, our great High Priest. "Now are ye clean through the word."
But the priest was to take of the peace-speaking blood, and touch the right ear, the right hand, and the right foot. Why not the left? The right is the superior, as the mind is to the body, or the spiritual to the natural, or the Christian to the man of the world. Thus, the great High Priest of our profession, will sanctify by his blood, the hearing, working, and walking. They will hear nothing but the blood which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel; and although as living in the world, they are directed to be found in the practice of good works, yet their right hand is touched by the blood of the offering, so that believing on the name of the Lord Jesus they enter into rest, ceasing from their own works as God did from his. Continuing in the present state.
Christians are to run the race which is set before them. Yet as saved they stand still, to behold the salvation of God.
The priest was to take of the log of oil made use of in the meat-offering, and dipping his right finger in the oil, to sprinkle it seven times before the Lord; and of the rest, or of the same, the priest shall put upon the right ear, right hand, and right foot of the cleansed, and this was immediately to succeed the trespassoffering; and the remnant of the oil that is in the priests hand, he shall pour upon the head of him that is to be cleansed, and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord. The blood of the offering being applied by the priest, to the principal members of the patient's body, that his hearing, his working, and his walking may be cleansed; there is added to this, and laid upon it, on each of the same members, a part of the oil which belongs to the sacrifice.
When any person or thing was set apart to the service of, or devoted to God, oil was constantly used. Kings, and priests, and prophets, were anointed with oil. Oil is a figure of joy, Isaiah Ixi. 3: "To give unto them beauty for ashes, and the oil of joy for the spirit of mourning." Exodus, xxv. 6, Oil is taken for light. “The foolish virgins took no oil, they were in the dark, their lamps were gone out. The wise took oil, and were in the light."
Thus the High-Priest of our profession, in taking away our sins, a discase of the soul, similar to the leprous in the body, accompanies the blood shed with the oil of light, joy, and gladness to the ear, hand, and foot, so that we should not only hear the voice of our good Shepherd, but none other, not the voice of a stranger: that we should not only work, but that our works should be works of faith and labours of love, and that as we have received the Lord Jesus, so we should walk in him.
Again, that we should hear the word of life with joy, work with joy, walk with joy. Again, that we may hear in the light, so as to understand what we hear, that we may work in the light while it is day, that we may walk in the light as children of the light, not stumbling as those who walk in darkness.
But the remnant of the oil was to be poured upon the head of the cleansed person, indicating that the whole man must be devoted to God, at the period when the atonement was made for him before the Lord; read Malachi, ii. 15, “And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit, and wherefore one?