(ii) THE MOSAIC
CONSTITUTION OF THE KINGDOM IMPERFECT.
The kingdom of God
is the Twelve Tribes of Israel existing in the land promised
to Abraham and Christ. When it existed of old time, the
Mosaic Covenant was its civil and ecclesiastical code,
which appointed and defined all things. But since the
appearance of Jesus in Israel, certain things have come
to pass in connection with him, which necessitate a change
or amendment of the covenant, or constitution, that provision
may be made, or scope afforded, for the exercise of his
functions as High Priest and king in Israel; and for
the carrying out of the principles which emane from the
dedication or purification of the New Covenant by his
This is the necessity which existed for a change of the law; "for
the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a
change also of the law" (Heb. 7:12). The Sinai Constitution
of the Kingdom established a changeable priesthood of the
tribe of Levi, the chief of which was an hereditary prince
of the family of Aaron, called the High Priest. The high-priesthood
is an office divinely created; and no man Israel was allowed
to assume it unless he was called of God as Aaron. It was
appointed for the offering for men of both gifts to God, and
sacrifices for sins; so that the officiating party becomes
a mediator between God and men. But the priesthood of Levi
and Aaron was imperfect, and therefore could not impart perfection,
so as that he who did the service or the worshippers should
have no more conscience of sins, and thereby become heirs
of eternal life.
This being the nature of the priesthood under which Israel
received the Law, or Covenant, the Mosaic institution was
weak and unprofitable, and could make nothing perfect (Heb.
7:11,18,19; 9:9; 10:1). This imperfection resulted from the
nature of the consecration, or blood of the covenant. Aaron
and his sons, the altar and nearly all the things of the law
were purified by the blood of bulls and goats, etc.; which,
however, could not sanctify to the purifying of the heart,
or the flesh from the evil within it which makes it mortal.
It was necessary to perfection that sin should be condemned
in the flesh of the High Priest, which could not be effected
by condemning sin in the flesh of the animals sacrificed under
the Law. This necessity would have required the death of a
High Priest at the celebration of every annual atonement at
least, being themselves sinners; but as this was incompatible
with the nature of things, animal sacrifices were substituted.
So that Aaron and his successors could not under penalty of
immediate death enter into the Most Holy without this substitutionary
blood. But then this blood was deficient of the necessary
The blood required was that of the peccant nature -- the human;
for it was man, and not the creatures, that had sinned. But
even human blood would have been unprofitable if it were the
blood of one who was himself an actual transgressor, and a
victim that, even if an innocent person, had not come to life
again. The Messiah in prophecy asks the question, "What
profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit? Can
the dust praise thee? Can it declare thy truth?" (Psa.
30:9). The answer is, None. For if the Christ had died, and
not risen again, he would not have been a living sacrifice,
and could not have imparted vitality to the things professedly
sanctified by it.
The blood of the Mosaic sacrifices was weak and unprofitable
because it was not human; because it was not innocent human
blood; and because it was not the blood of one innocent of
the great transgression, who came to life again through the
power of the Eternal Spirit. For these three important reasons,
the blood of the Mosaic covenant could not take away sins,
and therefore the High Priest and the nation, individually
and collectively, were all left under the curse of the Law,
which was death; for "the wages of sin is death" (Rom.
6:23). The law could not give them life who were under it,
being weak through the flesh, and deriving no vitality from
the blood peculiar to it; if it could have conferred a title
to eternal life, and consequently to the promises made to
Abraham and Christ, then righteousness, justification, or
remission of sins would have been by the Covenant of Sinai
(Gal. 3:21; Rom. 8:3).
But it may be inquired, if the Mosaic institution could not
perfect the conscience, nor give a title to eternal life and
the inheritance, but left its subjects dead in trespasses
and sins, by what means will the prophets and those of Israel
who died before Christ came obtain salvation in the Kingdom
of God? The answer is that what the Law could not do, the
bringing in of a better hope accomplished (Heb. 7:19). The
Mosaic sacrifices were provisional, substitutionary, and representative.
They pointed to the sacrifice of Christ, which in its retrospective
influence was to redeem those from death, who when living
had not only been circumcised, but had walked also in the
steps of that faith of their father Abraham, which he had
being yet uncircumcised. For the promise that he should be
the heir of the world was not to Abraham, nor to his Seed,
through the law, but through the righteousness of faith (Gal.
3:29; Rom. 4: 12,13). One object of Christ's death is plainly
declared to have been, "for the transgressions under
the first testament"; or as elsewhere expressed, "to
redeem them who were under the law" (Heb. 9:15; Gal.
4:5) . "By his stripes", says Isaiah, "we are
healed. Jehovah (Yahweh) hath laid upon him the iniquities
of us all. For the transgression of his people was he stricken." (Isa.
53) The "we", the "us", and the "people" in
these texts, are the ancient worthies before and under the
Law, as well as those who have believed the gospel, and after
his second appearing shall offer "sin offerings, and
meat offerings, and burnt offerings, and peace offerings for
reconciliation" under the New Covenant consecrated by
his most precious blood. (Ezek. 45:15-17)
Under the first or Mosaic Covenant, the priests are said to "make
reconciliation with the blood of the sacrifices upon the altar,
to make atonement for all Israel" (2 Chron. 29:24); so
under the second, or New Covenant of the kingdom, Ezekiel
speaks of "one lamb to make reconciliation for them" (Ezek.
45:15). But withdraw from the premises the death and resurrection
of Christ, and faith in them and the promises, and the reconciliation
under both covenants is imperfect and vain. Animal sacrifices
are necessary to the service as types or patterns, and memorials.
The Mosaic reconciliation was typical; the Ezekiel reconciliation,
memorial or commemorative. The typical Mosaic could not perfect
the conscience of the worshippers, because Christ had not
then died and risen again; nor could they when he had risen,
because they were offered by High Priests, whose functions
before God were superseded by a High Priest of the tribe of
Judah after another order than that of Aaron, then in the
presence of Jehovah (Yahweh) himself. The Ezekiel reconciliation,
however, will perfect the conscience, because Christ had died
and lives for evermore; which death and resurrection connected
with the reconciliatory offerings by faith in the worshipper,
and offered to God through the Prince of Israel, the High
Priest upon his throne after the order of Melchizedec, will
constitute sacrifices of a character such as have not been
offered on the earth before.