XXXIII - 4 (00)
what of the night?”
"The hour has come, the hour is
striking and striking at you,
the hour and the end!" Eze. 7:6 (Moffatt)
The Significance of the
“Difficult Bible Texts” (?)
Let’s Talk It Over Page 7
In writing to the
Hebrews, Paul indicates that the Gospel was preached unto the Israelites as
well as it had been preached to those to whom he was writing (4:2). The gospel
message to the children of
In the previous issue of WWN, in the "Editor's Preface," we mentioned some exegesis which made us cringe without identifying the source or the text that was being mutilated. In thinking about it, we did not believe this was fair to our readers, so in this issue we discuss this text and note the source of the faulty exegesis.
The editorial - "Let's Talk It Over" - touches a very vital issue - Honesty or Policy. If we give our word, should we keep it, or can we just ignore what we have said? It also enters into another area. What obligation is incumbent upon one who publishes? Does he have a right to be discourteous, and not even acknowledge the receipt of an inquiry which might question what he writes? It would seem that if a response challenges his position, if he sincerely wants truth, pure and unadulterated, he would be willing to dialogue and let his position be thoroughly discussed and questioned. We talk about righteousness by faith, but we see very little of it.
Review, and then Review again, and Review all that you've Reviewed"
The Signifance of the
In the previous issue of WWN, we discussed not only the experience of Israel in their consent to the Old Covenant, but also the lesson it conveys to us today; namely, that man is powerless to keep His commitment to God. Another way must be found.
While in the mount with
God (Ex. 24:18), Moses received the blueprint for the Sanctuary to be built in
the Wilderness (Ex. 25:8-9). This Sanctuary and its services were integrated
into the "type" covenant that God made with Moses and with
The stated purpose of the wilderness Sanctuary was that God wanted to dwell among His people (Ex. 25:8). The Psalmist describes the "Shepherd of Israel" as He "that dwellest between the cherubim" in the most holy apartment of the Sanctuary (Ps. 80:1). In another Psalm, Asaph sings, "Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary" (Ps. 77:13). But access to God was limited. Only the High Priest, and then only once a year, could enter the second veil into the presence of the Divine Glory which enshrouded the ark of the covenant. The common priests could enter the first apartment or holy place. The individual Israelite was restricted to the court which surrounded the Sanctuary. There he brought his confessional sin offering.
The offerings and their objective were outlined in a separate book - Leviticus. All sins were not covered, only sins of ignorance when brought to memory (Lev. -28). In other words as stated in the book of Hebrews, "it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins" (10:4). "The law made nothing perfect" ().
What then was the
purpose that God had in mind in having this wilderness sanctuary erected?
Nothing is indicated in the Old Testament, except that Moses was to build the
sanctuary and its furniture according to the blueprint shown to him at
The sanctuary reflected a service, and was not intended to convey the reality of heaven. This should be readily grasped by one simple comparison. In the sanctuary built by Moses, the first apartment, or holy place, contained as one of its articles of furniture, the Table of Shewbread (Ex. 25:23-30). While in the New Testament, one can find reference to the other two articles of furniture, the candlesticks and the altar of the incense, as a part of a heavenly sanctuary, there is no reference to a "heavenly Table of Shewbread."
While there are many spiritual lessons which can be drawn from the typical pattern given to Moses, we need to be constantly mindful in the study of the sanctuary that the emphasis is not on the "place" symbolized but upon the ministry of the One who serves - The "minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man" (Heb. 8:2). This is indicated to be "the sum" or chief point (v.1). If we had been as diligent in focusing on that ministry as we have been on seeking a significance for every article, and aspect
of the physical structure of the sanctuary, we would be well in advance of where we are now in our perception of truth.
The Daily Service
“The altar of burnt offering, which stood in the court outside of the tabernacle, was always in use; that is, there was always a sacrifice on the altar. Each morning a lamb was offered for the nation, and this lamb, after being prepared by the priests, was placed on the altar, where it was slowly consumed by the fire. It was not permitted to burn quickly, for it was to last till evening, when another lamb was offered, which was to burn till the morning offering was ready. (See Ex. 29:38-41)
"Thus there was
always a sacrifice on the altar, day and night, a symbol of the perpetual
atonement provided in Christ. There was no time when
"This morning and evening oblation was offered every day of the year and was never to be omitted. Even though there might be special occasions that called for more elaborate sacrifices, the morning and evening burnt sacrifice for the nation was always offered. On the Sabbath day this offering was doubled: two lambs were offered in the morning and two in the evening. Even on the Day of Atonement this ritual was carried out. Sixteen times in chapters 28 and 29 of Numbers does God emphasize that no other offering is to take the place of the continual burnt offerings. Each time another sacrifice is mentioned, it is stated that this is besides the 'continual burnt offering.' From its perpetual nature it was called the continual, or daily, sacrifice. ...
"It ... needs to
be emphasized that the temporary provision made for sin in the daily sacrifice
for the nation became efficacious only as the offender made personal confession
of sin and brought his individual sacrifice for sin, just as a sinner is now
saved by Christ's sacrifice on
viewed, the national burnt offering signified two things: first, Christ sacrificing Himself for
man, providing atonement for all; second,
the people dedicating themselves to God by putting all on the altar. (It was
the whole lamb that was offered in contrast to certain parts as required in the
sin offerings.) It is to this latter that Paul referred when he admonished
Christians, 'Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,
which is your reasonable service.'
The Sin Offerings
The sin offerings are
defined in Leviticus 4. Again it must be emphasized that these offerings
covered in a ceremonial aspect only sins of "'ignorance" (4:1), which
at the time when committed the sinner was not conscious that he had sinned (). The purposeful sin was not provided for in the
ceremonial sacrifices. David was well aware of this when after his sin of
adultery compounded by murder, he acknowledged, "For Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering" (Ps. 51:16). Paul
emphasized this weakness in the ceremonial law when he presented Jesus in the
Jewish synagogue at
Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39)
This emphasizes the fact that the law of Moses could not take away sin, and that the services were but "examples and shadows" of the heavenly reality in and through Jesus Christ "who was delivered
for our offences, and raised for our justification" (Rom. ). He ministered on earth as a common priest of a different order than the Aaronic, and now in the heavenly sanctuary, He continues as our great High Priest after the Order of Melchizedec. (Heb. 7:21).
The sin offerings of Leviticus 4 are divided into four categories - the High Priest when he sinned in such a way "so as to bring guilt on the people" (4:3 ARV), the whole congregation, the rulers, and the common people." There are common factors in all four categories.
The first is the act in each instance of
laying the hand upon the head of the designated sacrifice, whether it be the individual sinner or the elders of
The second common factor in three of the four categories of the sin offering is the fact that through the ministration of the priest, forgiveness resulted to the sinner (, 26, 31, 35). He cannot forgive himself; he must trust in the forgiveness extended through the mediation of the priest. In the interpretation of this symbol, we see the gulf between Romanism and Protestantism. The Protestant accepting it as typical perceives the priestly ministry of Jesus Christ, while Romanism adopting it in a literal sense interposes a human mediatorial system between the sinner and God.
It is in the priestly ministry of the sin offerings that distinctions are made in the four categories. When the High Priest ("the priest that is anointed") sins so as to bring guilt on the people, or the whole congregation sins, it was a corporate sin. The blood of the sin offering - a bullock - was mediated by the high priest (). The blood was taken within the sanctuary and sprinkled before the veil that separated the holy from the most holy place. A record of confession was finger printed on the horns of the altar of incense. The remainder of the blood was poured at the base of the altar in the court (-18). Only certain parts of the sacrificed bullock were burned on the altar. The rest was carried without the camp and burned "where the ashes are poured out" (4:8-12).
When the ruler, or common person sinned, the common priest ministered the sacrifice. The blood was not taken within the sanctuary, but a record of the confession was finger printed on the horns of the altar in the court, and the balance of the blood was poured at its base (). A special law was given concerning the sin offering for a ruler or common person. It read:
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. 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 (-26).
Certain points need to be itemized:
1) The place where the sin offering was killed was the same "where the burnt offering was killed." This was at "the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord" (1:3). 2) The whole of this priestly ministry was done "in the court," and 3) The common priest became a sin bearer by eating of the offering to which the sin had been transferred by the sinner.
Nowhere in the typical services was provision made for the common priest to transfer this sin that he carried to the sanctuary. He accepted it and bore it in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation.
The antitypical significance of this law of the sin offering needs to be carefully studied. In the symbolism, the court is the earth (Rev. 11:2). To this earth Christ came, partaking of our flesh and blood (Heb. ). Paul writes that God "hath made Him to be sin for us" (II Cor. ). Further, since "it is of necessity
that (Christ) have somewhat also to offer" before He could become high priest (Heb. 8:3) and since He could not be a priest in the Hebrew temple because he was of the tribe of Judah and not of the house of Aaron, He ministered as a common priest during His earthly life on the journey to the Cross. (See Hebrews 7:12-16; 8:4)
The highest atonement the common priest could minister was the atonement of forgiveness (Lev.4:31). This Christ made plain that He as the Son of man could do. To the man who had been let down through the roof, Jesus said - "Man, thy sins are forgiven thee" (Luke ). The scribes and Pharisees present began reasoning in their minds that this was blasphemous. When Jesus perceived their thinking, He declared:
What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (He said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them. (Luke 5:22-25)
This distinction in the type needs more and careful study. The common priest ministered the sin offering for the individual; the high priest for the corporate sins of the nation. The atonement of forgiveness for the individual was consummated at the Altar in the court, and the ultimate sin transfer was to the common priest where it stopped. The blood of corporate confession was taken within the sanctuary by the high priest and the confession recorded there. Why the difference and what is this difference in type telling us? This is an area for continued study.
We suggest that the symbolism used in the transfer of sin and the forgiveness extended to the individual in the court but echoes the thought that the highest place man of himself can attain is at the foot of the cross where he can look "up to the One who died to save him," and "rejoice with fullness of joy; for his sins are pardoned."
Consideration also needs to be given to the category in which the priest as an individual sinner would be classified. In Numbers 3:32, "Eleazar the son of Aaron" is placed as "chief over the chief of the Levites." This word, "chief" (nahsee') is the same word as is used in Leviticus 4 for "ruler" (v. 22). When a priest sinned, his offering would be mediated through a common priest, and thus the confession and atonement of forgiveness would be culminated in the court at the Altar of Burnt Offering, the same as for any other ruler, chief, or prince.
In their official capacity as ministering common priests, Moses declared plainly to "Eleazar and Ithamar, sons of Aaron" - "God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation to make atonement for them before the Lord" (Lev. 10:17). "To bear" does not mean "to transfer." Christ as the Lamb of God bore the sins of the world. (Isa. 53:11; John 1:29, margin). Christ did not transfer what He took. Any endeavor to transfer to the sanctuary the sin the common priest assumed symbolically by eating of the sin offering of a ruler, or a common person is without Scriptural basis. Nowhere on record is there a single incident recorded of such a transfer. To do so would destroy the type of the ministry of Jesus Christ as a common priest before His elevation to the office of High Priest after His resurrection.
In the "law of the sin offering," it is stated of the sin offering - "It is most holy" (Lev. ). One reacts in amazement. The animal upon which sin was confessed - "most holy"? Yes, and it was that victim of which the common priest was to eat in providing the atonement of forgiveness for the sinner. It stands as a symbol of Him who partook of our fallen nature and whose "soul" was made "an offering for sin" (Isa. 53:10). Though bearing our nature, He was most holy. Even a demon when confronted by Jesus cried out - "I know thee who thou art: the Holy One of God" (Luke ).
In discussing above the first act the sinner did in bringing his sin offering, that of laying his hand on the victim's head, we noted that it represented confession, transfer and dependence (p.4). There we emphasized the dependence aspect, but the other aspects need also to be enlarged upon. The confession was not to be a general confession but was required to be specific. Beside the sin offerings, there were trespass offerings. In the presentation of these offerings, the rule was stated - "It shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things,
that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing" (Lev. 5:5). The same would apply to the sin offerings. In the New Testament, "confession" is the one condition given for forgiveness. "If we confess our sins, (Christ) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).
Closely connected with confession is transfer. Since we can neither forgive ourselves, nor bear the consequence of our sins, the guilt and its penalty must be borne by someone else. In the typical services outlined for the wilderness sanctuary, there was transferred either to the sanctuary, or to the common priest the guilt of sin via the prescribed victim. Now was this done so as to record sin, or was it the record of confession of a sin already recorded? The specifics of these ceremonial offerings limited the sin to "ignorance" Lev. 4:2), and that when convicted, the sinner responded with the designated offering (, 28). The sin had already been committed, and the record made. If the sin offering was the means whereby the sin was placed on record, then the best way to have no sin registered against one was not to bring a sin offering.
Another question needs to be raised regarding the blood of the sin offering. Did it defile the sanctuary? I find no Scriptural record so stating. How can the blood of that which is declared to be "most holy" defile? In fact, there is on record the rule that if a man does not avail himself of the provisions of the ceremonial code in regard to uncleanness, he shall be cut off from the congregation "because he hath defiled the: sanctuary of the Lord" (Numbers ). This was concerning the provisions of the offering of the red heifer. Thus it would appear that failure to bring the prescribed offering would defile rather than the blood of the sin offering brought. It is also of note that the blood of any sin offering which required the laying on of the hand in confession is involved with the registry of guilt and confession, while the blood of the sin offerings on the Day of Atonement on which no hand was laid in confession, cleansed not only the sanctuary, but also was "for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation" (Lev. 16:33). But this must await another "Review."
1) All transliterations from the Hebrew in the above article are taken from the Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance.
If you desire
a simple graph on which to tabulate the sin offerings of Leviticus 4 so as to
note the similarities and differences between each, send a card or letter to
"Difficult Bible Texts"?
In the "Editor's Preface" of the March issue of WWN, I mentioned reading an article "discussing certain Biblical references on the Godhead," and wrote - "I cringed as I read some of the exegesis." In fairness to the readers, since I did not document the source and elaborate on the reasons for my cringing, I decided to discuss one text from the article - Isaiah 9:6 the exegesis of which made me cringe.
Robert Young, who authored the Analytical Concordance to the Bible, also produced a Literal Translation of the Holy Bible. From this translation, we shall quote the verse in Isaiah:
For a child hath been born to us, a Son hath been given to us, and the princely power is on his shoulder, and He doth call his name Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace.
The author of the article, "Answers to Difficult Bible Texts" (Old Paths, January, 2000, p. 6), Lynnford Beachy ,chose Isaiah 9:6 as one of those texts. This text is difficult only to one who is trying to sustain the position that the pre-existent Word was derived, instead of being as He was, the I AM - the self-existent and ever-existent One. Dr. Young's literal translation clearly places the Incarnate Word as being from eternity, in language that cannot be construed in any other way - "Father of Eternity."
Beachy wants to make this designation as future, translating that part of the verse - "The everlasting [forever (of future time)] Father." Jesus Christ has already spoken to this point. He declared to John on the Isle of Patmos:
I am (εγω ειμι) the first and the last, even the Living One, and I did become dead and behold I am (only εγω used) living unto the ages of the ages. (Rev. 1:17-18, Greek)
True Jesus Christ will ever be - everlasting - but He declared of Himself - I ever was, "the first and the last."
In the list of names ascribed to the coming Messiah, two -"Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace"- are in the Hebrew construct state denoting the genitive. The governing nouns in these two names are "Prince" and "Father." In the KJV, only "Prince of peace" is correctly translated. In the other designation, the genitive noun is translated, "everlasting," as if it were an adjective. There is a difference between "Prince of peace" and "peaceful Prince" so likewise there is a difference between "everlasting Father" and "Father of eternity." The Hebrew word used as a genitive in the designation, "Father of eternity" is gad. This word is translated "forever" or "forever and ever" in most of the Old Testament texts (KJV) where it is found. In Isaiah 57:15 it is rendered "eternity" - "thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity." In this Messianic prophecy, Isaiah is saying loud and clear that "the son to be born" was from all eternity. Further, the prophet did not elect to use the phrase - "Son of eternity" - but rather the designation, "Father of eternity." This puts to rest, or should, the absurd speculation that the Word was begotten before "eternity."
Why are we so anxious
to have a "derived" Son of God as set forth in the Nicene Creed, and
then reject the other part of the Creed which teaches a Trinitarian concept?
Why not just set it all aside and build our concept of God on the Bible? The
Scriptures plainly teach that "in the beginning" there were Two beings - the Logos and the Theos (John 1:1-2) - no
Trinity. Between these Two, there was "the counsel of peace" (Zech. ). To achieve the desired peace (
Let's Talk It Over
Some twenty plus years
ago, I attended a Sabbath morning service of a Reformed Seventh Day Adventist
Campmeeting in central
Because of the apostasy
in the regular Church, the Reform Movement has gained many new adherents from
Recently, the retired
editor of publications, Elder Alfons Balback released his extensive history of the Movement. In
it were some extremely questionable assumptions. I wrote to him - now twice -
and yet no reply. I have talked on the telephone with Elder Benjamin Burec, who promised to get back with me, after their
General Conference Session, concerning these matters. To date
not a word. I write these things because the rank and file, especially
those who have joined the movement from the