KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
studies in end-time revelation
THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
THE CONSECRATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD
We have pointed out in this series that Aaron and his sons represent Christ and His body, the great High Priest and the members of the Royal Priesthood. Those elect saints of God who have received the call to sonship are in the process of being prepared and formed into a kingdom of priests. They are spiritual priests, they worship in a spiritual temple, they stand at a spiritual altar, they offer up spiritual sacrifices, they are clad in spiritual vestments, and they minister in a spiritual ministry. "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 2:5). "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased" (Heb. 13:15-16).
If one of the direct descendants of the house of Aaron were converted to Christ and apprehended to sonship, he would enter upon an entirely new character and ground of priestly service. And be it observed, that the passages just quoted present the two great classes of spiritual sacrifice which the spiritual priest is privileged to offer. There is the sacrifice of praise to God, and the sacrifice of blessing to man. There is a double stream continually going forth from the believer who is living in the realization of his priestly place a stream of worshipful praise ascending to the throne of God, and a stream of active blessing flowing forth to a needy world. The spiritual priest stands with one hand lifted up to God in the presentation of the incense of prayer and praise, and the other opened wide to minister, in an outflow of life and light and love to every form of human need.
The whole creation is in a sort of universal travail for such a priesthood to arise in the fullness of all that priesthood means. As we lift up our eyes in this dark hour, before us lies a world filled with billions of benighted souls bound by chains of evil, wrapped by cords of slavery, entangled by the ropes of sin, sorrow, disease, despair and death. Everywhere are slaves, slaves to habit, slaves to poverty, slaves to ignorance, slaves driven by the lash of want, urged on by the sting of deep physical and spiritual need. Millions of men and women are in bondage to age old customs and empty religious traditions which were decadent when Christ was born Everywhere, world wide, we behold the same clanking chains that chain men to the power of darkness and the bondage of the devil. Thank God! He is preparing a priesthood, a company of deliverers, a race of holy sons of the Most High God to step forth in the fullness of the power and glory of God to break the bands asunder and set creation free. When this happens, the great problems which plague mankind will disappear. Poverty will go; sin will go; disease will go; war will go; sorrow and pain will go; death will go; bondage of every sort will fade away and the Kingdom of God will triumph in the earth. What a day! What a day! And the wonder of it all is that this day is even now breaking in the earth, personified in the "firstfruits" of His redemption! The crisis hour in the history of the world has come, and the sons of God are being perfected and prepared to bring deliverance to an entire world. As broad as Calvary, as deep as the Crimson Stream, as far reaching as the love of God, so far, so deep, so broad, so towering shall be the ministry of God's Royal Priesthood, praise HIS wonderful name!
Having considered the beautiful purpose of God in the Royal Priesthood, and the qualifications for that priesthood, we now approach the subject of THE CONSECRATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD. We shall proceed to examine the contents of the twenty-ninth chapter of the book of Exodus. To consecrate the priests is to hallow them to act as priests unto the Lord. God said to Moses, "And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to HALLOW them, to minister unto Me in the priest's office...thou shalt CONSECRATE Aaron and his sons" (Ex. 29:1,9). This word, consecrate, is translated from a word with a strange meaning, literally: to fill the hand. Thus, this consecration means more than just our being consecrated and dedicated and the giving of ourselves wholly to God. It bespeaks of God accepting our consecration, receiving us and imparting and inworking into our lives all that is needed to fulfill the ministry of priesthood. Ah, HE FILLS OUR HANDS, HE places within our hands that which is necessary to minister as His priests. No priest can appear before either God or man empty-handed, but there is a definite ability and power of God given to us that as priests we might have to minister both unto God and to men.
I do not hesitate to tell you that it is possible to go through forms of consecration to God but never have anything imparted or inworked within. Learn this, precious friend of mine, and you will know a great truth: Consecration is what God does, and not what we do! I hear so much today about "consecration services" where people promise to do something. The preacher forcefully points out some great need or lack in the world, or in the Church, or in the believer's life, followed by an "altar call" pressing the people to come to the front and "consecrate themselves" unto God and this or that work. I have been in these consecration services and have promised God big things in the past and have never quite made good. I do not like to think of that as being consecration. It is not what I promise Him. Moses did not say, "Lord, it has come to our attention that you need a priesthood down here, so we have appointed a committee and have decided to consecrate Aaron and his sons to you to be your priests." NO! The whole process was initiated by God, not man. It was God who said to Moses, "Thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons." And then all that was performed in that marvelous typical service of consecration REPRESENTS THINGS THAT GOD DOES NOT what man can do!
True consecration is coming to God with empty hands, confessing our weakness, and our inability to do anything, then letting God do the rest. If you read the prayers of Moses, Elijah, David, and Samuel in the Old Testament, and Paul in the New Testament, you will find that these men never came to God on the basis of what they were, who they were, or what they promised God they would do. I have attended altar services for years. I have watched people pray and weep and make vows to God and then give a testimony about the things they were going to do for God. I have heard enough promises at these altar services to turn the world upside down for God. Unfortunately, many of those promises are never kept because God had not required the people to consecrate to that thing. HE did not initiate the consecration, therefore, He did not accept it; neither did He fill their hands and equip and empower them to do the work. It was a one-sided consecration, which, in truth, is no consecration at all. I may decide that God needs some apostles, so I come to God and say, "Lord, I give myself, I consecrate myself to you to be your apostle." But if God has not first called me to be an apostle, all my consecration is in vain. Nothing will happen. I can live on the altar in constant prayer and fasting and consecration, but the anointing will not come. The power will not come. The ministry will not develop. God will not accept my consecration, and He will not fill my hands unless HE has initiated the consecration. Ah, we must hear a word directly from the throne of God and then come to Him with empty hands and wait before Him in holy yieldedness until HE FILLS THEM. That is consecration!
The majority of Christian people, nominal Christians, even including "Spirit-filled," "Pentecostal," and "Charismatic" Christians, know little about the consecration of the Royal Priesthood. Some have consecrated themselves to a sect or a movement, and have received a sectarian spirit of love for the sect or the movement, etc. Others have recognized one or more moral principles and have consecrated themselves never to violate those moralities: these receive the spirit of moralities, a self-satisfied spirit, a selfish spirit. Others have singled out some virtue, or some good works, which they worship and whose spirit they receive for instance, love or helping the needy and they are fully satisfied when they have shown some love and helped some needy. Others consecrate themselves to a "work" for Jesus and seem satisfied only when they are in a bustle of exciting activity; it matters little to them what kind the work is, so long as it is religious and there is plenty of it and they have a prominent place: it is not so much results they seek as work, and hence they are quite content to "beat the air," hoping that in the end they will find that they have earned some recognition from God and a place in heaven. For these to take time to wait in holy stillness before God and to ascertain the kind of workmen HE SEEKS, and the kind of work HE DESIRES to have done, would be to them a violation of their covenant of consecration for they consecrated themselves to work and are satisfied of heart only when they are in a fever of excitement.
Others more wise, but not truly wise either, consecrate themselves to a particular kind of service, for God and man the service which THEY think needs them most. If they consecrate to "missionary work," they receive the spirit of that work and have whatever blessing comes with it, or if they consecrate to sing in the choir, to be an usher, or to teach Sunday School, they get the spirit of these works and their blessings. This is in direct contradistinction to the consecrations which the Spirit works when HE draws us apart UNTO HIMSELF, out of the world, out of the flesh, out of the soulish, and into the deeper movings of His Spirit, until we are filled with His life, and ready to minister that life to all men.
All of these soulish consecrations, and the spirits or dispositions resulting, have both good and evil influences. Any of them is far better than a consecration to evil and its spirit of evil. Any of them is far better even than consecration to self and the spirit of selfishness accompanying it. Any of them is far better even than an aimless life consecrated to nothing. But none of these are true consecration, and none of these can compare in any sense to the consecration set forth in the Scriptures and exemplified in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world, the High Priest of our profession. This, the true consecration, alone brings to the heart the Holy Spirit, the reality and life and power of God to stand and minister as His priesthood in the earth.
This true, proper consecration differs from all others. It has but the one shrine at which it bows: it bows to the Father's will, surrendering self and self-will a living sacrifice on the Lord's altar, a reasonable service. It makes no stipulations or reservations. The language of the Chief Priest is that of each member of the Royal Priesthood: "I came not to do My own will, but the will of Him that sent Me." "Lo I come (as in the volume of the book it is written of Me) to do THY WILL, O God." Such are made partakers of the fullness of the Spirit, their hands filled from heaven.
A friend in Christ has written: "Joshua 24:1-28 tells of how Joshua gathered all the heads of Israel, their elders, judges, officers, and they presented themselves before the Lord, as Joshua gave them his final exhortation to CHOOSE YE THIS DAY WHOM YE WILL SERVE. This has been repeated again and again as people have gathered in Conferences, Conventions, Camp Meetings, various consecration services, and there in the presence of the Lord been faced with the challenge of whether or not they would SERVE HIM. This all has its place, and we praise God for every level of man's personal consecration for service though we often find an element of 'I WILL' in this service. It is meant FOR the Lord, yes, but it is also done because I WILL find satisfaction, glory, excitement, etc. in doing these things. It is not with the intent of being caught in a 'web of semantics', or quibbling over the meaning of words, but we do see a depth of consecration TO the Lord wherein there is no longer any consideration of our own will it has been GIVEN OVER to the Lord, and thus ever become one in Him. HE would then direct us to do a certain thing and immediately we respond because of no contradiction within of our own will to His. No need to surrender to His will, because ALREADY WE ARE DELIGHTING THEREIN. Deut. 31:14 gives t o how Moses and Joshua presented themselves before the Lord, while Joshua received his commission. This was a very sacred moment, Joshua was GOD'S CHOICE to lead the people into their inheritance. We read these things with awe and wonderment, could God ever use us in this manner also? And then, if we are not careful, we present ourselves before the Lord FOR A MINISTRY, we come seeking a ministry, rather than seeking HIM, His will, and a giving of ourselves TO HIM. The gifts and callings are OF GOD, He chooses whom He wills, and when His hand is placed upon your life, you say, 'Yes, Lord.' But we all do well to present ourselves TO Him, not to crowd in for a ministry, but just to BECOME what He would have us BE 'Only to be what He wants me to be, every moment of every day, Yielded completely to Jesus' control every step of this pilgrim way..."'
Many who read these lines will bear witness to the truth I now write. In the past we have made many "consecrations" that we really did not mean. We have made many commitments to the Lord that we really had no power to perform. Actually, God caused us to make such consecrations and dedications and to not keep them in order to reveal to us that we cannot of ourselves do these things. Betimes we are caught up in the fervor of a meeting and make such commitments, but when we are away from the influence of the meeting all the old desires and weaknesses return. It becomes evident that it was not a true con secretion, for while we promised God, there was no reciprocal action on His part, no impartation of divine enablement, NO FILLING OF THE HANDS.
Some have consecrated and reconsecrated, dedicated and rededicated so many times until the dear folk have worn out the carpet trotting back and forth to and from the altar, without any visible results. They remind me of the story I read. There was an evangelist who gave effective altar calls. Every night, when he gave the call, people came forward to receive from God. The first night one man came forward and prayed, "Jesus, fill me full, fill me full." That man came forward every night at every altar call and prayed the same prayer until finally on the last night when he prayed, "Lord, fill me full," the evangelist said, "Lord, don't do it he leaks!"
In God's economy there is no such thing as "reconsecration." You will not find it in the Bible. God knows nothing about such a thing. Tell me, my brother, my sister, how you can "regive" something that has already been given? If you are "reconsecrating" your life to God you but reveal the sad fact that the first "consecration" was NO CONSECRATION at all you did not give, God did not accept, and your hands were not filled. No greater sin can be committed by the people of God than the act of devoting a thing to God, and then taking it back again. Even among men there is no insult more keenly felt than that someone should make you a present, tell with what joy he devotes it to you, and then coolly come and take it back again. If a young lady's lover should give her a present, say a ring, and then come back and say, "I think, Maggie, I would like that ring back," how quickly she would say, "Oh, yes, take it back, and take yourself off, too!" There is not a woman with a spark of self-respect but would say that to a man who wanted back his devoted present. Apply the same thought to God. You devote something to God. You say you give it to God. Sacredly you vow and dedicate and consecrate it to God. Then you continue to reserve it for yourself, and again, and again, and again you re-consecrate it to God, but always reserve it to yourself. That is not consecration at all. It is a sham. It is a hypocrisy. It is a delusion. And God has nothing to do with it !
THE BASIS OF CONSECRATION
On what basis must the Royal Priesthood be consecrated to God? On what basis does God require us to consecrate ourselves unto Him? There must be a basis for whatever we do. For example, when we drive a new car home and use it for our work and pleasure, it is because we have paid a price and bought it. This purchasing is the legal basis upon which we drive it. Our God is the One who is most legal and who acts most logically. All His doings are reasonable and have a basis. God operates by divine law; He is a God of principle. He cannot demand something from us without a basis. When God, therefore, demands that the priesthood be consecrated unto Him, it cannot be without a basis. And what is His basis? It is His purchase. He has BOUGHT US and He can, therefore, demand that we consecrate ourselves to Him. I Cor. 6:20 says, "For ye are bought with a price: THEREFORE glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." But concerning the Royal Priesthood the Word is even more specific: "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou west slain, and hast REDEEMED (purchased) us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God KINGS AND PRIESTS: and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev. 5:9-10).
Ah, our consecration as priests is based on this purchase of God. He is making us a kingdom of priests BECAUSE HE PURCHASED US for that purpose. You walk into a furniture store and you see a great many living room sets on display. But you cannot have any of them delivered to your house, because you have no basis for doing so. But if you pay $1800.00 for one beautiful set, then you can demand that it be delivered to your house and turned over to you. This demanding is based upon your purchase. And what you do with it is entirely up to you because it belongs to you. The basis of consecration is exactly the same. God requires our all because He has purchased and paid for us!
We may further ask, From what did God buy us? Many people think that God purchased us from the rule of the devil, or that God purchased us from the captivity of sin, or that He bought us from the world, or from the power of death. While God's purchase of us does effect deliverance from all those things, none of them are really what He bought us from! From what, then, has God bought us? Gal. 4:4-5 holds the key: "But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, MADE UNDER THE LAW, to REDEEM them that were UNDER THE LAW, that we might receive the adoption of sons." So, then, we see from these verses that God has redeemed us from UNDER THE LAW. If it were not a fact that He has bought us from under the law then neither could we be delivered from the rule of Satan, from the bondage of sin, or from the power of death, for "the sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin IS THE LAW" (I Cor. 15:56).
Why is it that God has redeemed us from the law? The reason is that when man sinned he fell under God's law which said, "Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17; 3:3). Falling under this law, man was imprisoned, strut up, kept, held and retained under sin, Satan and death BY THE LAW. The fact that we were thus retained by the law of God is altogether righteous and legal. If God, therefore, wanted to release us from under His righteous law, He must pay the full price to satisfy the demand of His law. This price is the precious blood shed by His Son Jesus. "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed (purchased) with corruptible things, as silver and gold; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Pet. 1:18-19). Now, praise God, we are redeemed from under the law, bought out from under the law, released from the rule of the law, delivered from the authority of the law, so that NOW WE BELONG TO GOD! No longer do we serve rules and regulations, no more do we serve laws and commandments, now, praise His name! we SERVE THE LIVING GOD! The right of possession over us has been transferred from the law to the living God! And it is on the basis of this transfer of right that God can select His PRIESTHOOD COMPANY and demand that we consecrate ourselves to HIM!
In the world today, people get married when they feel like it and divorced when they feel like it. They choose a vocation and work and live and play and come and go as they please. They act according to their own wills and desires without recognizing any right of ownership, without seeking or consulting God at all. And it is not much better in the church system where men plan and organize and build and perform out of carnal reasoning and soulish zeal, consecrating themselves to whatever work THEY feel ought to be done. "Lord, I WILL do this, I WILL surrender all, I WILL go, I WILL say..." I WILL is a cover up for the self-life, its a guard, a fence to protect self. It is evident that when ever we say "I WILL" that "I" comes first. And how deeply HE must deal with us by the inworking of His cross, until we are truly surrendered to Him, and the "I will" is turned into "THY WILL be done." True consecration must sooner or later rest on the realization of God's right to us, and the wonderful fact that it is not something we do, but something HE DOES! True consecration, as I have pointed out, is coming to God with empty hands, confessing our weakness, and our inability to do anything, then letting God do the rest, trusting HIM to FILL OUR HANDS!
Many, however, find it difficult to rest in Him, trusting Him to do what He will, and would try to conjure up some form of self-effort, self-helps, as if by this they could help God finish His work within them, and they could seize the priesthood. Man would assume the responsibility for his salvation, become his own perfecter, and think that by his own efforts he will hasten his sonship. So they demand and command, confess this and claim that as if by these efforts they can work God into a corner, force His hand, and God would have to fulfill His promises, according to their timing irregardless of His own time purpose. All of this is futile, priesthood and kingship are not a "do yourself kit." "For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God bath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). Therefore we have "come to this settled and firm persuasion concerning this very thing, namely, that He who began in you a work which is good will bring it to a successful conclusion right up to the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 1:6, Wuest Expanded). THIS is the spirit of CONSECRATION!
FILLING THE HANDS
This is the hour when it is no longer enough to just know that we belong to God, or that we have consecrated ourselves and given ourselves wholly to the Lord. This is the hour when God is calling forth His elect saints to move into that place where God can impart and inwork into each member something of Himself that can be ministered both unto God and unto men. The question follows Has God "filled our hands"? Have we been so consecrated until God has witnessed that He has accepted us and has committed unto us at least a measure of Himself that we can minister to others? It begins with God, for He is the First Cause of all things, the initiator of this ministry, and the sufficiency whereby it is accomplished.
Let us illustrate it this way. When the children of Israel came out of Egypt, God gave to Moses the plans for the Tabernacle. Those plans contained the making of fine embroidery work, the work of the jeweler, beaten gold, precious metals and all the arts of the lapidaries working with gems and precious stones. There was fine linen to be made and worked upon. They had to know how to tan the skins of animals and many other skills in the line of carpentry etc. were required. Had Moses been an ordinary man of today, I do not doubt that we could hear him say, "Now Lord, do you expect me to take these plans down to this people, and do you expect them to do all this beautiful, meticulous, skillful and wonderful work that you have laid out here for us? You know, Lord, all I have down there is a bunch of brick makers. That is all they have ever done, all their lives in Egypt. Lord, their hands are all calloused and cracked and rough from working in the water, slime and straw. There is not one of them that knows how to beat gold. None of them are silversmiths. None of them are lapidaries. None of them are blacksmiths. None of them are weavers. They don't know how to produce fine linen or do embroidery, and all the other things you are talking about."
This was all true, of course, as there was no knowledge of these things in their numbers. But, do you know what God told Moses? He named two men and said He would PUT THE SKILL FOR THIS IN THEIR HANDS. "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I HAVE PUT WISDOM, that they may make all that I have commanded thee" (Ex. 31:1
6). God said that He would go beyond that. He would give these men the ability to teach all these things to others. So, after so long a time, the Tabernacle appeared in the midst of Israel, as an evident sign of the wisdom and knowledge and power of God.
Ah it was GOD who called these men, and it was GOD who filled their hands! It was God who imparted to these men the wisdom, the skill, the ability and the power to accomplish His purpose. Does being a priest after the Order of Melchizedek seem too high for you? Do you wonder how you can attain unto such a thing? If you were consecrating yourself to such a calling it would be hopeless, indeed. But it is GOD HIMSELF who has sent a word unto His people in these last days, commanding that they should consecrate themselves unto Him to be a kingdom of priests unto Him and for the creation. Oh, the wonder of it! This priesthood is now presenting itself before the Lord. This priesthood is even now in preparation. Comprehend this scene! Taste the promise of eternal glory! God is going to give His elect a set of blueprints, the plans, the skill, the knowledge, the wisdom, the love and the power to bring this whole creation of God into the perfection and glory He has decreed for it. GOD SHALL FILL THE HANDS OF HIS PRIESTS. He is doing it now by the deep dealings and processing's in their lives. This is the LORD'S DOING, and it is marvelous in our eyes!
THE CONSECRATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD
It is always enlightening to study the typical rituals and ceremonies of the Old Testament, even though the rites have become obsolete, the altars deserted, and the dust of priest and devotee has long since mingled in the sand of the desert, or the green of the field. All were but shadows and types wonderfully portraying greater and grander realities to be experienced now on the higher plane of spiritual life. Through these examples and shadows the Holy Spirit has faithfully established the pattern of the order of the Kingdom of God. For this reason the Levitical ritual of the consecration of the priesthood is possessed of sublime importance for every candidate for the Royal Priesthood, and we are drawn to examine it with holy and reverent curiosity. There are so many beautiful and holy truths to be explored, and such a deep and vital work to be wrought upon mind and heart as we meet the immutable principles of priesthood consecration.
To consecrate the priests is to hallow and equip them to act as priests unto the Lord. The consecration of the priests involved a great deal of ritual which consisted of five chief parts: (1) ceremonial washing (2) robing (3) anointing (4) the offering of three sacrifices on behalf of the priests (5) causing them to perform a part of their office, in earnest and in token of the performance of the whole ministry to be fulfilled from that day forward.
The first three parts we will explore later in another connection. I am impressed at this time to draw your attention to the threefold sacrifice connected with the consecration of the priesthood. Each of the offerings had a separate meaning for the priests. The succession in which the sacrifices followed each other on this occasion, first the sin
offering, then the burnt offering, and lastly the consecration offering, has its ground in the meaning of each sacrifice. The priest passed through a spiritual process. He had transgressed the law, and he needed the deliverance signified by the sin offering. If his offering had been made in truth and sincerity, he could then offer himself as an accepted person, forsaking all self interests, dying completely to self, yielding his all forever to God, as a sweet savour, in the burnt offering. And in consequence he could be quickened, strengthened, equipped, and empowered by God in the consecration offering. This is, therefore, an offering by degrees. A little fellow can come rushing down in a service of consecration and he says, "I give myself to the Lord!" But there are three orders or degrees of consecration, and he must pass through all three before he is the Lord's! There is the offering of a bullock as a sin offering; but as the offerings proceed there is the offering of a ram as a burnt offering and the offering of another ram as an offering of consecration. There is a wonderful progression here. And ALL who would be consecrated members of the Royal Priesthood must experientially pass through ALL that is here typified by these three offerings.
THE SIN OFFERING
"Thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons. And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock. And thou shalt kill the bullock before the Lord, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom of the altar. And thou shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul that is above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and burn them upon the altar. But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin offering" (Ex. 29:9-14)
The sin offering speaks of the death of Christ in terms of forgiveness, cleansing and victory over sin. The bullock was brought before the door of the tabernacle, where Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the beast, thus identifying the animal as theirs and their life with that of the animal. Always with the sin offering the person who brought the sacrifice had to lay his hand upon the head of the victim and feel the pulsating life and know the innocence of that animal when it was compelled to lay down its life for the sake of fallen man. The whole procedure was arranged so that each time a living creature was killed, its human offerer should realize exactly what he was doing, and should repent the sins and selfishness which had created the conditions in the fallen world which could only be met by the pouring out of the life of another. The innocent died on behalf of the guilty, thus giving, in type, HIS LIFE to the one who under the judgment of the law was a "dead man."
After the identification of the priests with the sacrificial bullock, Moses plunged a knife into its throat. There was no sound, no scream, no lowing, only a long out sigh as the life blood drained away from the helpless victim, as, too, with our Lord Jesus Christ, "...He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth" (Isa. 53:7). Some of the blood was put upon the horns of the altar, and the remainder dashed at the base of the altar, thus, the life of the animal and those identified with it were released unto God. The fat and the inward organs were burned upon the altar, and thus became a sweet savour unto God; but the flesh the skin and the dung were taken outside the camp and wholly burned. The New Testament commentary reads: "For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the High Priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore JESUS ALSO, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate" (Heb. 13:11) Ah, yes, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself IS OUR SIN OFFERING, but all that He did for us, on our behalf, must now be appropriated and wrought out in our own experience, to the praise of HIS glory.
This brings us to a most important point as I draw this article to a close. There is a beautiful statement in II Cor. 5:21 wherein Paul states, "For He bath made Him to be SIN for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." The popular, but careless, understanding of this verse is that the Christ was somehow "made sin," or actually "became sin" or "sinful," the sins of the whole world being imputed or imparted to Him as He hung and died upon the cross. For long centuries Christians have accepted this crude notion that makes Christ A SINNER IN OUR PLACE. I must speak a word against that. Nothing could be farther from the truth! If Christ was indeed "made sin" for us, then pray tell me HOW SIN CAN ATONE FOR SIN? How could He die FOR US if WHAT WE DO and WHAT WE ARE were imputed or imparted unto Him? The very idea is a contradiction an unmitigated absurdity. It simply cannot be done. SIN ATONES FOR NOTHING. There is no way under heaven that you can do away with sin by offering up sin! The primary requirement for the sin offering was that it be "without spot" and "without blemish" in every respect.
The words "to be" are not in the original. Literally it is, "He has made Him sin for us..." But what is meant by this? What is the exact idea that the Holy Spirit intended to convey? It cannot be that He was literally sin in the abstract, or sin as such. Nor can it mean that He was a sinner, for it is said in the same statement that "He knew no sin," and it is everywhere said that He was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners. Nor can it mean in any proper sense of the word that He was guilty, for then He deserved to die, and His death could have no more merit than that of any other guilty being; and if He were properly guilty, it would make no difference in this respect whether it was by His own fault or by imputation: a guilty being deserves to be punished; and where there is desert of punishment there can be no merit in sufferings. All theories which try to make our pure, holy, spotless Redeemer to BE SIN, or sinful, or guilty, border on blasphemy and are abhorent to all who know and love the truth. It is the cornerstone of the whole economy of redemption that the sin offering MUST BE PURE and therefore acceptable to God and efficacious for man. "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed by such corruptible things as silver and gold...but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb WITHOUT BLEMISH AND WITHOUT SPOT" (I Pet. 1:18-19). Not, my friend, a lamb MADE SIN, but a lamb WITHOUT BLEMISH. "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself WITHOUT SPOT to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb. 9:14). Ah, He did not offer Himself AS SIN, but WITHOUT SPOT.
But if the declaration that He was made "sin" does not mean that He became the embodiment of imputed sin or the personification of sin itself, or sinful, or guilty, then what can it mean? The answer is simple once the Old Testament terminology relating to the sin offering is understood. There are many passages in the Old Testament where the word "sin" is used in the sense of "sin offering," or a sacrifice for sin. Hos. 4:8 says, "They eat up the sin of My people," a reference to the apostate priests who ate the sin
offerings of the people, an act prohibited by law. These priests did not eat SIN they ate the SIN OFFERING. Often in the Hebrew language a noun may be omitted and the adjective used as the noun. For example, in the Tabernacle there was the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. The word PLACE, however, does not appear in the Hebrew; it is simply the Holy and the Most Holy, and "place" is understood. So the priest did not go from the Outer Court into the Holy Place, he passed from the Outer Court into "The Holy".
The same principle is used with the terms "sin" and "sin offering". In numerous places in the Old Testament the single Hebrew word GHATTAHTH is used for either SIN or SIN OFFERING. In such cases the word for "offering" is not in the original at all, although it appears in the English versions. A careful study will show conclusively that in the Hebrew language the single word "sin" was frequently used for "sin offering" and the context alone determines whether sin as a trespass is meant, or an offering for sin. With the foregoing facts in mind it should be obvious to every reverent heart that Paul is not by any means trying to tell us that the pure, spotless, holy, unblemished and undefiled Lamb of God was MADE IMPURE, UNHOLY, DEFILED AND BLEMISHED SIN for us! The moment He became sin He would have been disqualified far being our sin-offering! Ah, the wonderful truth is that He who knew no sin thereby became the perfect, spotless, unblemished SIN OFFERING for us, that we might be MADE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM the altogether Holy One' I must insist most emphatically that the Christ was never MADE SIN. He was made a SIN OFFERING. What a difference! What a wonder! How much more logical! And how much more beautiful and blessed!
Under the law the sin offering provided only for acts of unconscious transgressions, mistakes, or unavoidable errors. It applied only to sins done through ignorance, passion, or weakness, in opposition to those done presumptuously, deliberately, or calculatedly. For sins done deliberately there was no atonement, but only "a certain looking for of judgment and fiery indignation." This point is extremely important, beloved, for it reveals the deep and wonderful work of the sin-offering. Sometimes it seems that we have not sinned. By the grace of the Lord, we have been kept through the entire day in His presence without any sins. It is possible. We do not sense that we have sinned, but we have a deeper feeling. It is quite strange. While we are saying, "Lord, I praise Thee, Thou hast kept me through the whole day; by Thy Spirit I have not sinned," we have a deeper feeling that within us is something sinful. We sense that deeply within is something more sinful than any acts we might have committed. Something that, were it not for His restraining grace, would sin. It is Sin, capitalized Sin. It is the power of Sin that dwells in my members. This is the Sin which is dealt with so extensively in Romans 5,6,7 and 8. Sin dwells within me. I am not speaking of sins outward actions. I speak of Sin capitalized, singular Sin. It is a force. It is a power. It is a nature. I hate it. I hate to do what I do. It is not I that do it, but Sin which dwells within me. There is an evil, but powerful living power within my members called Sin. It can drive me; it can defeat me; it can conquer me; it can cause me to do things I detest. It is a living nature; it is the nature of the evil one. It is the slithering serpent crawling about in the dust of the carnal mind, in the passions of my mortal body. Though we have been saved and have peace with God and one another, Sin can cause us to think and talk and act in ways that are abhorrent to our regenerated spirit. It is not cold, calculated, hostile, God defying, deliberate rebellion. No! It is something we have inherently from father Adam we did not choose it, we can't help it, we were born with it, and we are not to blame! It is in our blood! For this there is an offering the sin offering. Praise HIS name!
Many centuries ago the beloved John dwelt in spirit before the open doors of an open heaven as he walked about on the lonely, barren isle called Patmos. Time after time he saw in divine visions the glory of God, and of the Lamb, and of the Kingdom of Priests upon His throne, and of all the redeemed of the ages. The celestial scene filled John's heart with joy and praise, and impressed by what he saw and heard in the heavenlies, he cried out: "To Him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and bath made us kings and priests to Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever, Amen." Notice, dear ones, the fourfold action expressed in John's anthem of praise:
1. He loved us.
2. He washed us in His blood.
3. He has made us Kings and Priests.
4. Glory is ascribed to Him for ever for these things.
We know what "washing" means. We wash our bodies and our clothes to cleanse them from the least defilement that adheres to them. Now Sin is not merely an act we commit which casts us under guilt from which we must obtain forgiveness. Sin is a power, a passion, a life in our members. It is a pollution which cleaves to us. The sinning of Jesus procures more for us than forgiveness for our actions and pardon to assuage our guilt. It is in the deep, hidden, inner life of man that the power of HIS LIFE must be experienced. Sin has penetrated into the soul and body, and every member has become saturated with it. The blood too must penetrate; as deeply as the power of sin has gone, so deeply must the inner being be cleansed by the blood. We know that when some article of clothing is washed, the water with its cleansing power must soak in as deeply as the stain, if it is to be removed. Even so must the blood of Jesus penetrate to the deepest roots of our being: our soul, and body, the entire personality must be reached by the cleansing power of HIS BLOOD. "The blood cleanses from all sin"; where sin has reached, there too the blood must follow it; where sin ruled, there the blood must rule: the entire heart must be cleansed by the blood. Every one who would know the power of the blood of Jesus must remember that "the life of the flesh is in the blood" (Lev. 17:11). We have, in our very blood, been saturated with nervous temperaments, diseases, lawlessness, weaknesses inherited from our parents which have been the direct cause of our transgressions. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and the life of the flesh is in the blood. Our flesh is wrong and our blood is corrupt, for it is old Adam's flesh and old Adam's blood. But Jesus came, the firstborn of the new creation of God. He was not 50% from Adam and 50% from God. He was not 50% from Mary and 50% from His Father. He was not a half breed, part Adam and part divine. He did not have one drop of Adam's blood in His veins. There was not one drop of Mary's blood in Him. If one drop of old Adam's blood was in him, if one gene of Mary was in Him, He was a sinner. The new creation means nothing until we can see that the man Christ Jesus was AN ENTIRELY NEW CREATION OF GOD, THE SECOND MAN, THE LAST ADAM, underived in any way from the first Adam, a unique creation of God, without descent, without earthly father, without earthly mother, as was the first Adam in the beginning. His blood was not Adam's blood, it was the blood of God. Not just spirit, but spirit in the manifestation of blood, a very real blood possessed of the life of God.
The blood of Jesus was pure. IN was sinless blood. It was diseaseless blood. It was deathless blood. That is why Jesus could declare, "No man taketh My life from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (Jn. 10:18). He poured out His blood, His life. It ran into the earth, even the earth which we are. He did not die for us, that is, in our place. He did not die so that we would not die. NO! He died for us, that is, on our behalf. HE GAVE US HIS LIFE THAT WE MIGHT LIVE! This difference is sublimely important. If He died merely as a substitute, in my place, then He is dead, and I am alive with my same old Adam life. If He died that I might not die, then old Adam's life is preserved. But if He died TO GIVE ME HIS LIFE, then OLD ADAM MUST DIE and it is no longer I that live but Christ who liveth in me! He did not die to keep me from dying. I must die even though He died. "I am crucified with Christ." "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." "For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now...we be dead with Christ." Oh, my friend, let me say it again: He did not die to keep me from dying; He gave me His life that I might live! He did not die merely as my substitute, He poured out His life that I might eat and drink of it and live. "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you" (Jn. 6:53).
The power of the blood! What a mighty power is working within us! HIS BLOOD! Sinless blood. Pure blood. Diseaseless blood. Deathless blood. Incorruptible blood. Divine blood. Celestial blood. And it is His Royal Blood that now flows in our veins! Can we not see by this that when this precious blood has finished its work there will be a complete redemption, spirit, soul and body. All is cleansed by His pure blood. All is quickened by His incorruptible blood. Sin and death flee away before His holy and life
giving blood. Oh, the wonder of it!
I stand in amazement and wonder, marveling at such a mighty and glorious work as this. It is the sin offering. It is the consecration of the priesthood. It is a hallowing of those who minister as the priests of the Lord. It is the inworking of the power of an incorruptible life, the glory and strength of the Melchizedekian Order. Of our great High Priest it is written, "For such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens" (Heb. 7: 26). This is not only how He was it is how He IS. So, too, must be all who share that glorious priesthood after the Order of Melchizedek. For this very purpose, for this cleansing, this transformation, God has called us to the CONSECRATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD, to the mighty inworking in our lives of the sin
offering, to the destruction of sin and death, to the effectual cleansing and quickening of HIS LIFE. Hallelujah!
J. PRESTON EBY
P O BOX 371240
El Paso Texas
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The Royal Priesthood