Last Updated on :Thursday, November 20, 2014











We come now to the consideration of the difficulty seemingly involved in Paul's doctrine when regarded in the light of Ezekiel's testimony, Jesus is now the High Priest of God, and the only one that exists, or will ever exist in relation to man. He has had no rival since the Mosaic Covenant "vanished away". (Heb. 8:13) He is God's high priest for those, both Jews and Gentiles who have been reconciled to God through his name -- that is, who believe God's promises concerning the kingdom, and the things concerning Jesus, and have been united to his name by baptism. This is equivalent to saying, who have been reconciled through the belief and obedience of the gospel of the kingdom -- through the obedience of faith. Of the things concerning Jesus are the things pertaining to his divine sonship, his spotless and unblemished character, his sacrificial death and resurrection, etc., constituting him God's Lamb, holy and without blemish, having neither spot, nor wrinkle, or any such thing, of his own free will once offered to bear the sins of many. Thus he was at once the sacrifice and the priest; for "he offered up himself"; as he said, "I lay down my life for the sheep. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it up again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. This commandment have I received of my Father" (Heb. 7:27; John 10:15,17,18). Being thus the Lamb slain, he resumed his life, and entered into the presence of God before whom he stands as the blood-sprinkled Ark of the Covenant (Rev. 11:19), in whom is deposited the Law hereafter to go forth from Zion, and the life of his sheep, whose sins he bears away (Col. 3:3; Heb. 9:28); and thus they are sanctified by the dedicated covenant through the once offering of his body: so that "by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:10,14).

Now these sanctified ones are a purified people, whose "hearts" or minds and dispositions, have been "purified by faith" (Acts 15:9) -- faith in the promises of God, and in "the blood of sprinkling which speaks better things than the blood of Abel". (Heb. 12:24) The blood of Jesus is the blood of sprinkling which gushed forth from his side as "an offering" or purification "for sin". The poor in spirit and the meek, the honest and good hearts, that by faith appreciate the virtue of this sprinkled blood, and have become the subjects of repentance and remission in his name, are said to be "sprinkled from an evil conscience" and to have "washed the body with pure water" (Heb. 10:22). They are "the children of the promise",(Gal. 4:28) or covenant; because in becoming Christ's they have believed the promises, and have been purified by "the blood of the covenant". (Zec. 9:11; Heb. 10:29) As yet they walk by faith in the things believed, and not by sight. Faith, which is "the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things unseen", (Heb. 11:1) is the mirror which reflects the things of the approaching future, and presents them to the believer's mind as though he were beholding, and personally in the presence of, the very things themselves. Hence, it is said to such, "Ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the City of the living God, to Jerusalem the heavenly, and to the myriads of angels, to a general convocation, even to an assembly of first-borns enrolled for the heavens (en ouranols), and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the just made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of the sprinkling which speaks better things than that of Abel" (Heb. 12:22-24). Ye are come by faith to these things, which at present ye do dimly contemplate; but which ye shall see no longer as through a glass darkly, but face to face in the presence of the Lord.

Now these, whose hearts are sprinkled and their bodies washed, are the only people on the earth since the entrance of Jesus into the presence of God, for whom he officiates as "High Priest over the House of God" (Heb. 10:2I;3:6). They are "God's temple" "the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man" (Heb. 8:2). For forty years this temple coexisted with that in Jerusalem; but since the destruction of the latter it is the only temple of God upon the earth, where gifts and offerings, called "spiritual sacrifices", are offered acceptably to His name (1 Peter 2:5, 9). They become acceptable in being presented through Jesus Christ. They who do the worship (and they are all the faithful) enter into this holy place, or heavenly, which as a whole they constitute, with the sprinkled blood of the covenant upon their hearts. Purified once through faith in the blood-sprinkled covenant of promise, hereafter to become the law of the kingdom, there is in their case no more sacrifice for sin; "for by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified". (Heb. 10:14) Yet, though thus sanctified, they continue to offer spiritual sacrifices. All this is worshipping the Father in spirit and in truth; which is the only service acceptable to Him while His kingdom is in ruins, and prostrate at the feet of the Gentiles.

But this worship in spirit and in truth (expressed in confession of the hope (Heb. 10:23), praise, and prayer; in baptism; and in eating and drinking of the symbols on the table of the Lord) is the unburdensome privilege of those only who through faith in the Covenant and its blood have become "heirs of the kingdom". (James 2:5) When this is set up in Palestine, the service is changed in form, but not in principle; and from social becomes national. In the national service, the higher priesthood, which consists of Jesus and the "children God has given him", (Heb. 2:13)_ all immortal by resurrection, or transformation, though they offer "the fat and the blood"; (Ezek. 44:7,15) it is for the people and not for themselves. They need no more sacrifice for sin; but being "priests unto God" (Rev. 5:10), there needs must be something for them to offer on account of the worshippers for whom they officiate. The New Covenant, which we now accept as a matter of faith and hope, has not yet been made with the House of Judah and Israel. If it had, they would now be a united nation in Palestine. It will be made with them when they are grafted into their own olive and not before. At the engrafting, there will be a great national celebration, called "a delivering of the Covenant" (Ezek. 20:37): a delivering of the New Covenant from Zion (Micah 4: 2), with a glorious, but not such a terrible display of power as when the Covenant was delivered from Sinai. The nation, or Twelve Tribes, having been brought at length to acknowledge Jesus as High Priest and King, are received unto favour; and being under the New Covenant, as in former years they were under the Old, Jehovah (Yahweh) becomes merciful to their unrighteousness, and proclaims everlasting oblivion of all their past individual and national offences by virtue of the royal blood of the Covenant, the preciousness of which they then perceive and appreciate. This amnesty, however, benefits that generation only to which the Covenant is delivered and by which it is accepted. It affects not the generations of Israel's rebellious dead; they are the "cut off from the people".

Now, the question remains, when thus reconciled to God through the blood of his Son, is the nation to have a religious service or worship; and if they are, what is to be its principle, and what its form? No one who understands the Bible would affirm that the Twelve Tribes of Israel were to live in their own land under the New Covenant for 1,000 years without any national religious worship. To affirm this would be to say in effect that God had prepared a Royal Priesthood for His kingdom, but had provided no service for them to perform. This is not admissible for a moment. There will be a service under the New Covenant as there was under the Old. Its principle will be memorial, not typical; even the extension of the principle upon which is now celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus. Hence, the "reconciliation" will be a memorial reconciliation made perfect by the blood of the Covenant which institutes it. The reconciliation of the Old Covenant was typical and imperfect; because the dedication blood, being merely that of bulls and goats, could not perfect the conscience in taking away of sins. When the Prince under the New Covenant "prepares for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin-offering" (Ezek. 45:22), it is memorial of his own sacrifice of himself, and memorial of the reconciliation which the people enjoy through the blood of the Covenant with which, through faith in it, their hearts will be sprinkled then, as the true believers are at present.

Such is the principle of the amended "service which pertains to the Israelites" (Rom. 9:4). The form thereof is detailed in Ezekiel more at large than we can present it here. It is a service not of spiritual sacrifices, but of bloody sacrifices of spiritual significance. The lower order of the priesthood, mortal Levites, slay them for the people, and pass the fat and blood from the tables at the north gate to the Altar, where they are burned and sprinkled by the higher or immortal priests, "the seed of Zadok", (Ezek. 43:19) before the Lord. The past sins of the nation having been amnestied at the delivering of the Covenant, there is henceforth no more remembrance of sins once a year. The old Mosaic annual atonement on the tenth day of the seventh month, at which the tribes were to "afflict their souls", (Lev. 16:29,31; 23:27,32; Num.29:7) is not revived under the New Covenant. It will form no part of the service then. It was one of those things made, or appointed, that was removed when the Lord shook the Mosaic heaven by the Roman power. There will be no laver of water between the Temple and the Altar for the seed of Zadok to wash themselves before they enter the temple. These washings and carnal ordinances are also abolished; for those who approach the altar and enter in are like their Prince, holy and undefiled, being devoid of evil in the flesh.


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