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Aaron’s Entrance on his Office
"Being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all

them that obey him."--Heb. v. 9
Ver. 1. And it came to pass, on the eighth day that Moses called

Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel.
THE priests were now "made perfect," that is, consecrated

to their office. There is now to be a specimen given of

the High Priest actually engaged in his office. The elders

of Israel are special witnesses, that they may tell the

people with what confidence they may now approach the

altar; for Aaron is fully consecrated--"made perfect."

And his four sons, also, stand by as witnesses.

It was thus that witnesses of Christ's completeness have

assured us of his being a true and every way complete

priest. They proclaim, "Being made: perfect, he has

become the author of eternal salvation unto all them that

obey him" (Heb. v. 9). The Father bears witness that

he did consecrate him completely; and, on earth, saved

souls bear witness that they have seen and felt the power

of his priesthood, for they took their sins to him, and

received atonement from him.

Ver. 2. And he said unto Aaron, Take thee a young calf for a sin-

offering, and a ram for a burnt-offering, without blemish, and

offer them before the Lord.


Aaron, now actually in office, is to begin his official

acts before all the people, by again offering (as in chap.

viii. 14, 18) a sacrifice of sin-offering and burnt-offering.*

He is ever to keep the people in mind that there must

another priest arise, greater far than Aaron; for Aaron

needs atonement himself. On all great public occasions,

the high priest began by presenting these two offerings

for himself. The consecration-offerings of chap. viii. 22,

26, he had, of course, no more to do with. Now, in so

doing, he was "the voice of one crying" at the altar,

" Prepare ye the way of the Lord! I am not the Christ.

There cometh one after me, mightier than I, the latchet

of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and

unloose! One who shall not need daily, as I need, 'to

offer up sacrifice first for his own sins and then for the

people's"' (Heb. vii. 27).

Ver. 3, 4. And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak, saying,

Take ye a kid of the goats for a sin-offering; and a calf and

a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt-

offering; also a bullock and a ram for peace-offerings, to

sacrifice before the Lord; and a meat-offering mingled with

oil: for to-day the Lord will appear unto you.
The people bring all kinds of offerings, except the

trespass-offering, which, at the entrance of the priest on

his duties, and while the congregation, therefore, were

only beginning to be shewn their duty in holy things,

might not be needed. A trespass in holy things (see

chap. v. 15) could scarcely have yet occurred. But all

other kinds are brought. Foremost is the sin-offering,

whereon they lay their individual, special guilt. Then, a

twofold burnt-offering--a calf and a lamb--to shew their
* The young calf here, and the "young bullock" of Exod. xxix. 1, seem

the sane. The Hebrew in this chapter is rqAbA Nb, lgef,, and in Exodus

rqAbA Nb, rpa. The Jews say it put Aaron in mind of the matter of the golden calf.


trust in the grand primary sacrifice. Next, the peace-

ofering, in its fullest form--a ram and a bullock

ox)--to shew the complete peace bestowed, and reconcili-

ation to God. Lastly, the meat-offering, mingled with oil

--their own persons consecrated to God and his service.

The people were called to do this, on the ground that

"the Lord would appear to them that day." As if Moses

had said, "Thus shall you meet the Lord: his way to the

sinner is through the shedding of blood; and the sinner's

way to him is through the same." A glorious truth for

the chief of sinners! "He has been to you a God that

hideth himself; but approach with the blood that has

been shed for you; this day approach; and this day shall

the Lord appear unto you!"

Ver. 5, 6. And they brought that which Moses commanded before

the tabernacle of the congregation: and all the congregation

drew near, and stood before the Lord. And Moses said, “This

is the thing which the Lord commanded that ye should do; and

the glory of the Lord shall appear unto you.”
The congregation gathered themselves together in front

of the tabernacle, with the offerings, and "stood before

the Lord"--an expression denoting a setting themselves

in the solemn posture of worshippers, as Abraham in Gen.

xviii. 22. Moses then said to them, “This, which the

Lord commanded, do (see the original), and in so doing,

expect that he will appear. We are taught that the

Lord appears as our God, reconciled and gracious, when

we are approaching him through the work of his Son--

the same lesson inculcated in ver. 4.

Ver. 7. And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer

thy sin-offering, and thy burnt-offering, and make an atone-

ment for thyself, and for the people: and Offer the Offering of

the people, and male an atonement for them; as the Lord



The people being ready, Aaron is now to offer for them.

But, that they might know him to be only a type and

shadow, and not "the Christ," the true anointed Priest,

he first of all presents a sacrifice for himself. It being

thus understood by all that he acts in the name of another

yet to come, he goes forward to the work.

Ver. 8-11. Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the

calf of the sin-offering, which was for himself. And the

sons of Aaron brought the blood unto him; and he dipped his

finger in the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar, and

poured out the blood at the bottom of the altar: but the fat,

and the kidneys, and the caul* above the liver, of the sin-offer-

ing, he burnt upon the altar; as the Lord commanded Moses.

And the flesh and the hide he burnt with fire without the camp.
As soon as Aaron had slain his sin-offering, his sons

caught its blood in the bowls of the altar; and as each of

the four stood--perhaps one at each corner of the altar--

Aaron bent down and dipt his finger in their bowl of

blood, and sprinkled the horns of the altar. Thus, the

four horns were seen by the people wet with blood, a

loud voice of atonement thereby ascending to heaven,

crying, "Pardon to the guilty! for this is his penalty."

Then Aaron emptied out of the bowls, and out of the

body of the animal, the blood that remained, till a torrent

of red crimson blood flowed round the altar's base. In

ver. 10, 11, the view is the same as chap. viii. 16.

Ver. 12-14. And he slew the burnt-offering; and Aaron's sons

presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled round

about upon the altar. And they presented the burnt-offering

unto him, with the pieces thereof, and the head; and he burnt
* The Hebrew in this place is not the same as in chap. iii. 4. The caul is

said to be dbeKAha Nmi "from the liver;" and txF.Haha Nmi, from the sin-offering."

This may be, q. d. the caul which he takes from the liver, from out of the sin-

offering. So ver. 19. The expression for “upon the altar” is the same as in

chap. viii. 16, hHAbez;mi.ha.
them upon the altar. And he did wash the inwards and the

legs, and burnt them upon the burnt-offering on the altar.
This is the other part of Aaron's offering for himself,

ere he presented the people's. His own peculiar sins

being washed away by the sin-offering, and its blood

being put on the altar's horns to cry in his behalf, and

bring down better things than the blood of Abel, he

presents this burnt-offering, to shew that he had equal

interest in all that signified atonement, this being the

grand primary type of redemption.

The expression, in ver. 12 and 13, for "presented" (the

same as at ver. 9), suggests to us the reason why Aaron's

sons were there to do this. The word (Uxcim;ya, Hiphil) is

one which is generally used when a person has a thing

in his own possession, and then offers it to another for

his. It is used of one who gives up another into an

enemy's hand. Hence on this occasion we are led to

consider Aaron's sons as stationed there by God to ex-

hibit to their father the blood and the other parts of the

sacrifice. They are his instruments for holding out to

Aaron the offer of an atonement; and thus more fully

than before is the high priest exhibited to all the people

as one who himself needs atonement. Their eyes are,

thereby, fixed on him only as he is the shadow of One

greater far, who is yet to come; and he himself is kept

from being at all lifted up by the honour done to him.

He is made to feel that he sustains a representative


Ver. 15-17. And he brought the people's offering, and took the

goat which was the sin-offering for the people, and slew it,

and offered it for sin, as the first. And he brought the burnt-

offering, and offered it according to the manner. And he

brought the meat-offering, and took an handful thereof, and

burnt it upon the altar, beside the burnt-sacrifice of the morning.
Aaron now took up the people's offering. Here, and

in chap. vi. 26, the most striking expression occurs that

we anywhere meet with in regard to atonement. "He

of ered it for sin," might be rendered, "He sinned it,"

or, "He made it sin" (UhxeF;.Hay;). The sense of "offering

for sin," is evidently taken from the fact, that every such

sacrifice had the sin laid on it, or imputed to it. This

may have suggested the expression used in 2 Cor. v. 21,

"He made him sin for us" (a[martian e]poihsen). It is not

"made him to be a sin-offering," but much more;* the

sin-offering itself was "made sin;" and not on this occa-

sion only, but on all occasions, as we may infer from the

clause "as at the first" (ver. 8). The true idea appears

Gen xxxi 39 hn.AxF.,HaxE: "I bare the loss of it"--I

was made sin for it. The idea seems to be, "He put the

sin of the people on this victim till it became one mass of

sin." The priest's using it as the atonement for those

who presented it, made the victim become, in a manner,

the receiver of their sin and of the penalty it deserved.

And so our Great Sin-offering, Jesus, when slain for us,

was treated as if he were the reservoir of the sin and

curse that flowed, in so many streams, over man. In this

sense, "The Father made him to be sin for us!

The burnt-offering was presented in the usual way,

“according to the manner.” The meat-offering also.
*Chrysostom gives one of his best criticisms here, when he says, that it

means more even than that he made the Righteous One a sinner in order to make

sinners righteous. "Ou] gar e[cin e]qhnken, a]ll ] au]thn thn poiothta. ou] gar ei]pen, [e]poihsen a[martwlon, ] a]ll ] [a[martian. ] ou]xi [ton mh a[martonta ]

monon a]lla [ton mhde gnonta a[martian. ] i[na kai u[meij genwmeqa ou]k ei]pen [dikaioi, ] a]lla [dikaiosunh, ] kai [qeo?u dikaiosunh ]” (Comment. on 2

Cor. v.)—He does not say, "He made him a sinner," but “he made him sin"--not,

"Him who did not sin," but '' him that did not know sin." All this in order that we

might become, not "righteous," but "righteousness," and "the righteousness

of God."

And these two, offered on that occasion, were in addition

to the morning sacrifice and meat-offering. For we are

not required to set aside regularly-appointed duty, when

engaged in more extraordinary and solemn exercises.

Ver. 18, 19. He slew also the bullock and the ram for a sacrifice

of peace-offerings which was for the people: and Aaron's sons

presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled upon the altar

round about, and the fat of the bullock and of the ram, the

rump, and that which covereth the inwards, and the kidneys,

and the caul above the liver.
As before. In ver 19, it is literally "the fat pieces

from the bullock and from the ram." "That which

covereth," is filled up by a reference to chap. iii. 9.*
Ver. 20, 21. And they put the fat upon the breasts, and he burnt

the fat upon the altar: and the breasts and the right shoulder

Aaron waved for a wave-offering before the Lord; as Moses

The fat pieces of each were laid on the breasts of each;

thus intimating that the inmost desires, and all nearest

the heart, is a ready offering to the Lord. Then the fat

was removed, and consumed in the flames; as if to

express how the fire of Divine wrath descended upon

Jesus, on his inmost soul, when that soul had offered all

its strength and affections to God. The fat was laid on

the breast, thereby to intimate the fullest and most cordial


These breasts, more fully expressive of complete devo-

tion to the Lord now that the fat had lain on them, are

waved before the Lord; and the right shoulder,† also, of

each animal, as already appointed. All are thus heaved
* Jarchi supplies "brqh," the inwards, as our version does.

†The singular is used; but this is in reference to chap. vii. 34. It means

the appointed right shoulder, which always was the right shoulder of each peace-


up toward the dwelling-place of Jehovah, that the giving

up of the whole people to him for ever may thereby be

openly expressed. This is the concluding act. Aaron

has presented the people in virtue of his office; and lo!

the Lord has accepted them! There is a restoration to

the fellowship of an offended God; for here is the ex-

ample. This first day's acts confirm Israel's faith in the

truth, “There is forgiveness with thee,” and at the same

time in that other awful truth, "Without shedding of blood

there is no remission."

Ver. 22-24. And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and

blessed them; and came down from offering 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 people: and the glory of the Lord 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 saw, they shouted, and fell on

their faces.
Probably these offerings were presented at the time of

the morning sacrifice. Then (ver. 23) Moses, and Aaron

retired into the tabernacle. At the time of the evening

sacrifice they came forth again, and stood at the altar.

At this hour, Aaron stood still and looked upon all the

people as they crowded the space in front of the brazen

altar. As he thus stood, the eyes of all the multitude

turned toward him; whereupon, amid the awful solem-

nity and deep silence, he lifted up his hands--the very

bands that had been wet with blood--and blessed the

people. It was as if he were pouring over them all the

grace and peace that flow from the blood of Jesus! And

this done, "he came down from offering the sin-offering,

and the burnt-offering, and peace-offerings." It was thus

that Jesus blessed his people--his faithful witnesses who
stood around their altar on the Mount of Olives--lifting

up the very hands that so lately had beepn nailed to the

cross. And having so done, he left the place of sacrifice

and went into the Holiest of all, there to receive more

communications from his Father, and then to come forth

again to give more blessing.

Aaron, leaving the altar, went into the Holy Place.

There Moses stood with him, and, as representative of

Jehovah, handed over to his care all the vessels of the

sanctuary, and committed the ordering of all to him; even

as Jesus, on his ascension--on his leaving the place where

he had made the sacrifice-received from the Father

(Rev. i. 1; Ps. lxviii. 18; Eph. iv. 8) authority as Medi-

ator, or as the Captain of salvation now made perfect

(Heb. ii. 10), to administer the affairs of the sanctuary.

It was in reference to this that he said, as he was enter-

ing in, " All power is committed unto me in heaven

and on earth" (Matt. xxviii. 18). He is there now,

managing their interests for them above, preparing many

mansions. “The Father hath committed all things into

his hand.”

His coming out again will be like Aaron's, in order to

bless the people anew. The people remained in the

courts, expecting the re-appearance of Aaron and Moses.

And so the Lord's people remain with their eye and

heart on the altar, looking for the second coming of their

Priest, in the Father's glory as well as his own. "The

glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people" of Israel

that day; and some of the bright fire of that glory shot

down on the altar and consumed the pieces of the sacri-

fices, thus giving the last attestation required of complete

acceptance. In all this we see the very figure and out-

lines of the Redeemer's second coming "to those that
look for him." His glory will thus appear, when it is now

the evening of the world's clay, and that glory, investing

the person of the Son of man--the Lamb of God--will

give the last and most indubitable proof that he is well

pleasing to the Father. He shall appear the second time,

"without sin, unto salvation." The sin consumed, and

for ever done away, nothing is left for the people but the

completing of their joy and their holiness. What a shout

of ecstasy shall burst from them all then! Yet how

deeply awed and reverent they shall be! even as forgive-

ness;* produces holy awe, wherever felt. The people shout

and fall prostrate before him. "To him shall every knee

bow, and every tongue confess that he is Lord, to the

glory of God the Father." 0! our High Priest, now

within the tabernacle not made with hands, perfect that

which concerneth us! Put the bread on the golden table,

that we may never want our better than angels' food.

Pour in daily the olive-oil, that the lamps of thy golden

candlestick may never be dim in this dark, gloomy world.

Present thy incense with every prayer of ours, with every

groan, with every sigh of the prisoner! And soon, soon

come forth again! yea, even before we have slept with

our fathers, if it seem good in thy sight; come forth to

bless us, and to receive the shout of multitudes adoring

and confessing that thou art Lord alone!
* Heb. xii. 28, 29 receives a beautiful illustration here. "Grace," or

forgiving love, teaches to serve God with "reverence and godly fear;" for while it

brings us to his nearest presence, it shews him to us as a God who consumes

iniquity. "Our God is a consuming fire." The light that guides us into his presence

is the very blaze of the sacrifice on which our sins are laid.
The Fencing of the Priestly Ritual

See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not

who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if

we turn away f rom him that speaketh from heaven."--Heb. xii. 25
Ver. 1, 2. And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either

of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon,

and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded

them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured

them; and they died before the Lord.
THIS event occurred at a time when its effect was likely

to spread the most solemn awe over priest and people;

and occurring, as it did, in the persons of Aaron's sons,

who were men of station and office, the influence of the

lesson taught would diffuse itself over all ranks of men in

the camp.

After spending the day in the manner mentioned in

the former chapter--after presenting the blood (ver. 12,

13, 18), and seeing their father, Aaron, go in with Moses

into the Holy Place--they seem to have felt impatient

at not being allowed to take a more prominent part in

conducting the service. Perhaps they thought that

they, too, might enter the Holy Place and offer incense.

Accordingly, next morning, it would appear, they both

engaged in a most daring and presumptuous project. If,

as many believe from ver. 9, 10, they had drank too

freely, and so become elated, their sin might be reckoned

a sudden temptation. But I rather suppose that it was

a deliberate sin, proceeding from a jealous, sullen heart,

and the injunction in ver. 9, 10, like that of Ezekiel

xliv. 21, was suggested at this time by the fact, that

what they did deliberately, others would be much and

often tempted to do suddenly, through the influence of

such excitement.

The expression, "Which he commanded them not," ap-

plies to the many ingredients that were contrary to God's

will; and the force of it is equal to, "which he had ex-

pressly forbidden." Their motive, the strange fire used,

the time when it was done, were all opposed to the Lord's

command; and the example of disobedience thus set was

fitted to be extensively pernicious in the camp.

It was probably done in the morning of the day follow-

ing the events of last chapter. For ver. 16, where the

question about eating the sin-offering is asked, shews

that certainly it did not take place later than the second

day; since the law required all remnants of the sin-offer-

ing to be burnt, if kept beyond that time. And ver. 16

would also lead us to think that the sons of Aaron had

been occupied with other sacrifices since the consecration-

day; for Moses searches for the goat of the sin-offering.

If, too, the goat had been burnt on the very day of the

consecration, Moses could scarcely have failed to observe

the flames, as on that day there were no other offering but

the priest's.

Nadab and Abihu took a censer, and kindled their

incense. But they did so,--1. At a time not commanded:

Aaron should have been consulted for this. 2. In a place,
or in a part of the tabernacle, not commanded, for they

were in the open court (ver. 4, where Uzziel's sons, who

were only Levites, went to them), not at the golden altar.

3. In a manner contrary to the Lord's declared will: for

the priests understood that the only fire to be used in the

tabernacle was to be fire from the altar--fire that had

come from heaven. Probably, too, they used what spices

were at hand, not the proper incense. The Lord had com-

manded neither the time, place, nor manner. But if the

sinner's eye be blind to God, it sees not anything of the

Lord's authority. And neither education, nor station,

nor privileges (see Exod. xxiv. 9), are sufficient to keep

men from this presumption. The heart may continue

unrenewed amid all such blessings.

The Lord forthwith vindicated his own honour. These

are priests, and they stand in the holy courts, and they

hold the censers of the tabernacle in their hands, and the

cloud of incense is ascending from them; but the Lord is

dishonoured under that cloud of incense, and therefore he

must go forth in majesty. The stroke comes "from be-

fore the Lord"--the fire shoots across the mercy-seat,

and through the Holy Place, and finds the sinners under

their cloud of incense! How awful to observe that it

crosses the mercy-seat to reach them! And though their

cry reaches his ear over the mercy-seat, it is too late now!

The Lord has risen up. It is like the events that will

attend Christ's second coming, when from Himself (the t

mercy-seat itself), fire shall consume his foes, and their

cry, though the Lamb himself hear it, is in vain. He con-

sumes all that have defied him; and many among these

shall be found in the act of holding up the incense of vain

worship to the Lord.

Will-worship in any form, Popery, Puseyism, formality,
idolatry, is hateful to the Lord's holy nature. His will

is holiness.

Ver. 3. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake,

saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me,* and

before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his

The news spread through the camp. Moses and Aaron

hastened to the spot. They stood together and gazed on

the dead bodies. As they gazed in awful amazement,

Moses turned to his brother and said, "This is that the

Lord spake, saying," &c. This is an illustration of the

same holiness we saw at Sinai, when he said, "Let the

priests which come near to the Lord sanctify themselves,

lest the Lord break forth upon them" (Exod. xix. 22).

Aaron felt what Moses said; he bowed in silent submis-

sion--one look on his lost sons, another on his exalted

and glorified God.

It may be thus at the last day. The Father will point

to the ungodly as objects of his just displeasure; and the

Intercessor, who used to yearn over these sons of men,

shall then say, "Let them go down quick to hell;" and

the redeemed respond, over the smoke of their burning,

"Hallelujah!" We can understand Aaron's silent sub-

mission, as he saw God's holy act of judgment on these

presumptuous sinners; but could we have gone farther,

and sympathised with him, had he even lifted up his hands

to his God, and, with a holy gladness in his countenance,

cried, in presence of the camp, "Hallelujah, hallelujah?"

Such shall yet be the feeling of the redeemed over their
* It has been remarked, that priests are the persons chiefly denoted by this

term (as in Ezek. xlii. 13, and Exod. xix. 22); the people learning reverence

by them. If so, then Heb. x. 22, "Let us draw nigh," and Eph. ii. 13, "We

are made nigh by the blood of Christ," assume a new aspect, viz. referring to

all believers being now priests.
own kindred who offer strange fire. Standing in Aaron's

position, with all Aaron's submission, but with a pro-

foundly holy triumph, to which Aaron was a stranger,

the righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance!

He shall wash his feet (i. e. be refreshed) in the blood of

the wicked" (Ps. lviii. 10). Angels are able now to

feel thus toward devils, who once were most dear and be-

loved brethren! The glory of God will so appear as to

hide all else from our view. His glory will cause us to

cry, " Hallelujah!" (Rev. xix. 3.)

Ver. 4-7. And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of

Uzziel, the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near,

carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp.

So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the

camp; as Moses had said. And Moses said unto Aaron, and

unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar his sons, Uncover not your

heads, neither rend your clothes, lest you die, and lest wrath

come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house

of Israel, bewail the burning which the Lord hath kindled.

And ye shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of the

congregation, lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the Lord is

upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses.
Whoever saw the dead bodies saw at once that it was

the Lord's stroke! for the coats--the priestly coats--were

left unconsumed. The Lord directed the fire, as he often

directs lightning, in such a manner that the persons were

struck, but nothing besides. The stroke came on guilt

alone! And all in the camp saw them; for the dead bodies

were "carried out" before all. A prophet might have

pointed Israel forward from that sad scene to the coming

day of shame and vengeance--"They shall go forth, and

look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed

against me" (Isa. lxvi. 24). All saw their presumption;

all must see their doom. All saw the law broken by

their hands; all must see the broken law honoured in

their death.

And the honour done to the law is made the more

apparent, and brought closer home to the heart, by the

circumstance that nothing is done that could have been

avoided. No feeling of the tender, paternal heart of

Aaron is needlessly injured; none of the feelings of

brother to brother are violated. In order to preserve

these natural affections untouched, neither Aaron nor any

of his family are asked to take part in the mournful duty

of removing the consumed bodies--the ashes--of the

men who have themselves become a burnt-offering in the

Lord's sore displeasure. This duty is laid upon the sons

of Uzziel, cousins of the dead. The mourning family re-

ceive a message (ver. 6) to sit still without putting aside

their priestly character,--not to dishevel their hair, or

rend their clothes, for they could not execute their duties

in the sanctuary if they were to give themselves to

mourning. Priests must restrain even the strongest

natural feelings when these come into collision with

duty to God. Our Master, who wept at the grave of

Lazarus, and spoke to his mother on the cross, yet

would not be turned aside from duty by such feelings.

“Considero te in cruce de matre sollicitum, cui volenti

loqui tecum quum evangelizares, negaras colloquium."

(Cyprian, de Pass.)--"I think of thee, how thou shewedst

such concern on the Cross for thy mother, though, when

thou wert preaching the Gospel, thou wouldst not allow

her to speak with thee."

But the special reason seems to be this,--they bore a

public character, as representing to the people God's views

of truth and God's opinion upon all matters. Therefore,

as his representatives, they must shew that such an act
of judgment, however severe, was quite deserved, and

brought glory to his name. They who had most to do in

exhibiting the mercy of God at the altar were thus fore-

most in testifying that Jehovah continued to be holy and

righteous, true and faithful.

It was for a similar reason that Ezekiel was not to

lament his wife (xxiv. 16, 17). He stood as representa-

tive of God; for it is there expressly interpreted as being

done with this view--"Ezekiel is unto you a sign" (ver.

24). And here, verse 7 says, "For the anointing oil of

the Lord is upon you," q. d. you are men set apart for

his use.

It is not because the Lord disapproves of our mourn-

ing over the dead, for he permits all Israel to lament

this "burning"--both in its cause and in its effect--both

for the sin that occasioned it, and the sorrow that resulted.

But it is to shew how hereafter even friends shall approve

of the Lord's acts of justice on the ungodly, while the

smoke ascendeth for ever and ever. The sons of Aaron

are to shew this, being representative characters.

Ver. 8-11. And the Lord spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink

wine, nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go

into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a

statute for ever throughout your generations; and that ye may

put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean

and clean; and that ye may teach the children of Israel all

the statutes which the Lord hath spoken unto them by the hand

of Moses.
Oftentimes have seasons of affliction been the times when

the Lord gave new communications to his people. And

this season of judgment brought out a new precept; a

precept fitted to prevent the recurrence of the offering of

strange fire, or any similar will-worship. It appears from

Ezek. xliv. 21 (if we are to use analogy as a guide), which

speaks of the "Inner court," that this command refers to

the times when the priests engaged in any holy service,

whether in the court, or in what was more properly the


A priest must have his soul calm, clear, steady. He is

to be "filled with the Spirit," not with "wine, wherein

is excess" (Eph. v. 18). In a holy frame, discerning

between clean and unclean, ready to teach others also, he

is to enter the tabernacle. In two things he is to be the

opposite of Nadab and Abihu: he is not to be excited

with any false, vain desire; and then he is to be exactly

observant of the Lord's statutes (ver. 11), so that he may

be ready to teach others also to keep them. Hence, he

must keep away from every indulgence and every appear-

ance of evil; from every tempting object, and every excite-

ment not drawn from him to whom he is approaching.

0 what a baptism of the Holy Ghost ministers now

need, in order to be free of every foreign aid and false

excitement, and be able to minister calmly, holily, and

according to the Lord's revealed message!

Ver. 12-15. And Moses spake unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar

and unto Ithamar, his sons that were left, Take the meat-offer-

ing that remaineth of the offerings of the Lord made by fire,

and eat it without leaven beside the altar; for it is most holy.

And ye shall eat it in the holy place, because it is thy due,

and thy sons' due, of the sacrifices of the Lord made by fire

for so I am commanded. And the wave-breast and heave-

shoulder shall ye eat in a clean place; thou, and thy sons, and

thy daughters with thee: for they be thy due, and thy sons' due,

which are given out of the sacrifices of peace-offerings of the

children of Israel. The heave-shoulder and the wave-breast

shall they bring, with the offerings made by fire of the fat, to

wave it for a wave-offering before the Lord; and it shall be

thine, and thy sons' with thee, by a statute for ever; as the Lord

hath commanded.
The "holy place" here meant is defined by "beside the

altar" (ver. 12). It is the court made holy by what was

done in it (see chap. vi. 16). The "clean place" is any

spot in their dwellings not defiled ceremonially

The reason for this reiteration of injunctions which

have been already given--at least in substance--in

former chapters, seems to be, lest Aaron and his sons

should suppose that they had forfeited their privileges by

that awful sin committed by some of their number. But

here they are assured that all their privileges remain to

them as full as ever. They are thus gently led into the

true consolation under all that had happened. They are

reminded of the Lord's continuing friendship and love

and with this assurance the Lord binds up those whom

he has wounded. He wipes away their tears by present-

ing to them his unvarying and unchangeable love; for

this is what is exhibited to them in receiving the allotted

portions of the sacrifices of peace-offering. Herein the

love of God our Saviour appears! 0 what tender, con-

siderate kindness is discernible under this veil of types!

He has here made his love abound " in all wisdom and pru-

dence"--so seasonable and so full. A new manifestation

of a reconciled God is the oil he pours into their wounds.
Ver. 16-18. And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin-offer-

ing, and, behold, it was burnt: and he was angry with Elea-

zar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron which were left alive,

saying, Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin-offering in the holy

place, seeing it is most holy, and God hath given it you to bear

the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them

before the Lord? Behold, the blood of it was not brought in

within the holy place:* ye should indeed have eaten it in the

holy place, as I commanded.
See here Moses manifesting great jealousy for the
* To the inner holy place (Ezek. xliv. 21).


honour of his God. "Moses was faithful in all his house"

(Heb. iii. 2). He does not address Aaron, but his sons-

yet it seems, from ver. 19, that Aaron, too, was present.

He suspected that there might be some deviation from

prescribed rules at such a time; and hence, before he

spoke, he "diligently sought."

It should not have been “burnt,” but "eaten;" for, in

chap. vi. 30, the rule was laid down. If the blood of the

sin-offering was brought into the Holy Place (as was done

if it was the sin-offering of a public person, or of a public

nature), then it was to be burnt; but if otherwise, it was

to be eaten. But the sin-offering here was one offered

for the priests as individual sinners, and therefore was

not to be brought into the Holy Place to reconcile withal.

Hence, Aaron and his family should have eaten it, accord-

ing to chap. vi. 26-29.

Besides, Moses perceived that by this deviation from

the prescribed order, they had lost a privilege. He says,

"Seeing it is most holy, and God hath given it you" (ver.

18), hinting that it was a privilege they would have found

comfort in availing themselves of at such a time, it being

a token of God's kindness to them. God may tenderly

allow us to omit the duty, while it may be foolish in us to

use the permission, as thereby we lose the privilege.

The subject of ver. 17 deserves more particular notice.

The sense of that verse is, "God has given it to you that,

in bearing the iniquity of the congregation, you may have

an atonement for your own souls first of all." It is only

incidentally that the expression "Bearing sin" occurs in

Leviticus, viz. here and in chap. xxii. 9. But it may be right

to notice what we may gather from these two references.

We gather from this passage--1. That the individual

who bears the sin of others must himself be pure from
these sins. This was signified by the priest's offering a

sin-offering by which all his own sins were borne away.

2. That this expression means more than enduring the

effects of sin. For a personally guilty substitute might have

done this. But farther; chap. xxii. 9 teaches us--3. That

to "bear sin" implies that the person is reckoned guilty;

of the sin. Hence, when it is said that the priests bore

the iniquity of the sanctuary (Numb. xviii. 1), the sense

is,--they were reckoned guilty, until they had put that

guilt upon the sacrifice, and had seen that sacrifice burnt

to ashes. Isa. liii. 6-11, and 2 Peter ii. 24 must be un-

derstood in this manner. For we now see that to "bear

the sin of others" implies that the priest is reckoned guilty

by imputation, of sins with which he was not personally

chargeable at all, up to the moment when he has cleared

these sins away in the fire of wrath which consumes the

Ver. 19. And Aaron said unto Moses, Behold, this day have they

offered their sin-offering and their burnt-offering before the

Lord; and such things have befallen me: and if I had eaten

the sin-offering to-day, should it have been accepted in the sight

of the Lord
Aaron first defends his sons, and then himself. It

seems clear to me that "the sin-offering and burnt-offer-

ing” of his sons, spoken of here, must have been presented

by themselves, and are not the offering of chap. ix. 8-12.

I understand this to have occurred the day after Aaron's

consecration, and his sons had that morning presented

sin-offering and burnt-offering for themselves.* Hence,
* There remains one difficulty, viz. where is it said that the common priests

were to begin as Aaron began, by presenting a sin-offering and burnt-offering

for themselves? The answer is, that from Heb. vii. 27, Lev. xvi. 16, 17, and

other places, it appears that no priest could proceed to offer the sacrifices of others

without first presenting these offerings for his own sins. Now, that morning the

people had begun to bring their offerings, and Aaron's sons had entered on their

Moses addressed them (ver. 16), and Aaron, in replying,

says, "They have done part of the duty"--"they have

offered." Now, as this sin-offering was for Nadab and

Abihu, now dead, as well as for Eleazar and Ithamar, it

could not be used as other similar sin-offerings were; for

the Lord had interrupted the usual rites attendant on

such a sacrifice. It could not be said to be accepted,

how, then, could Aaron and his sons eat of it, as if it had

been accepted? Had they sat down to feast on it, they

would virtually be declaring their belief that the Lord

had not refused to accept the sin-offering in which

Nadab and Abihu had taken part, whereas there were

manifest tokens of displeasure all around. In these cir-

cumstances, could Aaron and his sons eat in faith? No;

the family felt that there was a cloud over the Sun of


Ver. 20. And when Moses heard that, he was content.
It seemed good in his eyes" (Heb.) He saw that

Aaron entered into the spirit and meaning of the rites he

ministered among and was satisfied. And it is to be

noticed that this attention to the spirit, and not to the

mere letter, of the ceremonial law, at the very outset, in-

dicated to Israel that the things signified by these types

were their chief concern, not the bare types themselves.

And how interesting to find Aaron thus exhibiting his

understanding of the emblems of the tabernacle! Aaron's

service was not formality; it was a worship done in the

spirit; and where the spirit could not be brought along

with the rite, he left the rite undone. Herein he glorified

God,--he gave him the honour due unto his name! He

felt that it was not worship at all, if his soul was not en-

gaged; for "God is spirit."
Thus we have a glimpse into the hidden life of Israel's

worship, at the very moment when undeviating attention

to the appointed statutes is enforced by a stroke of severe


But after these calamities befalling men of the priestly

line, and testifying that they are sinners, and after so

many various ceremonies that all spoke of the need of

atonement, it is sweet for us to turn for a moment to the

One High Priest, in whom all was summed up and per-

fected. We take Daniel's well-known prophecy, to find a

full-length portrait of our Priest. It runs thus:--
“Seventy weeks are determined

Upon thy people, and upon thy holy city;

To finish the transgression, [margin, to restrain.]

And to make an end of sins, [margin, to seal up.]

And to make reconciliation for iniquity,

And to bring in everlasting righteousness,

And to seal up the vision and prophecy, [margin, prophet ]

And to anoint the Most Holy."--(Dan. ix. 24.)

Perhaps it might be rendered as literally, and more

forcibly, by a few alterations. The prophet is told that

seventy weeks must yet run on ere these events take

place--that is, the proposed, determined tinge for the ac-

complishing of these six great ends:--

1. For the restraining of the transgression;

2. For the putting the seal on the sin-offerings;

3. For making atonement for iniquity;

4. For bringing in an everlasting righteousness;

5. For putting the seal on vision and prophet;

6. For anointing the Most Holy One.
We have here Gabriel's message regarding Messiah's

work for men. In the course of seventy weeks, 1. The

transgression shall be restrained. "The law entered, that

the offence (to> para

v. 20); but no sooner is the Saviour come, than lo! the

offence is no longer overflowing. Grace has the opposite

effect from law; it restrains sin. “Sin shall not have

dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but

under grace" (Rom. vi. 14). And the grace that

brought salvation, flowing from the Saviour, Messiah,

was soon felt to be thus powerful; "Teaching us to

deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly,

righteously, and godly in this present world" (Titus

ii. 12). 2. The seal shall be put on the sin-offerings.

The article is prefixed to tOxF.AHa as if to make it plain

that it was "sin-offerings." The sealing is in the sense

of giving them sanction--shewing that they gave proper

views of mans sin and God's justice. This Jesus did by

fulfilling the whole of their typical meaning, being made

sin for us, and consumed to ashes without the camp, on

Calvary. Thus he "set to his seal" (e]sfragisen) that

these were true representations of God's holy law and

man's sin (John iii. 33, and Rom. iv. 11). Then, 3. The

atonement for iniquity shall be actually brought. Hitherto

it had all been done in type; but the Saviour, by his one

suffering and obedience, presents the reality to God and

to man. He actually does what the ceremonies of the

law pledged should be done. 4. Everlasting righteousness

shall be brought in. The Saviour brought us a real right-

eousness, as real as was the imputation of our sins to him.

It was no more a ceremonial purification only, or a clean-

sing from defilement, which lasted only for a season, and

was lost by the next touch of pollution. He gives an

everlasting righteousness--"eternal redemption." 5. The

seal shall be put on vision and prophet. Whatever pro-
phets have uttered, or seen in vision, concerning Messiah,

was now all fulfilled by Jesus. Thus the seal of truth

was stamped on them all, and they were set apart as

attested and verified. 6. The Most Holy One shall be

actually anointed; i. e. inaugurated into his office as Re-

deemer, by actually being born in our nature, and anointed

with the Holy Ghost from the moment of his birth. In

other words, he that is to accomplish all those blessings

shall appear, viz. he that is the true High Priest, "Holy

of Holies," on whom God's anointing oil shall be poured,

even "the Spirit without measure."

The only doubtful clause here seems to be the last.

Many apply "Most Holy" to the sanctuary, whereas we

here apply it to Messiah, as the antitype of the high

priest. Is the high priest, then, ever called MywdAqA wd,qo?

Yes; in 1 Chron. xxiii. 13. Let any one who under-

stands Hebrew read that verse, and say if it ought not to

be there rendered, "And Aaron was separated, setting

him apart as holy of holies (MywidAqA wd,qo), himself and

his sons for ever, to offer incense." And in a Jewish

song, chanted by Joseph Wolff, and which he heard Jews

sing in their own tongue, Messiah is praised not only

“The The King, our Messiah, shall come,

The Blessed of the Blessed is He;”

but, besides, he is celebrated, as in Daniel-
“The King, our Messiah, shall come,

The Holy of Holies is He.”

Oh, glorious Messiah! True High Priest! Thou art all

that the prophets said of thee! Thou givest us everlast-

ing righteousness and real atonement! Thou satisfiedst


every claim made by justice, whose payment was pledged

by sacrifice! Thou alone hast stayed the torrent of sin!

Soon wilt thou again appear "without sin unto salva-

tion," and present to thyself and to the Father a Church

without spot, or blemish, or any such thing!"

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