A Study of Leviticus 16:14
“And he shall take of the blood of the bullock and sprinkle it with his finger upon the Mercy Seat eastward, and before the Mercy Seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times.” (Leviticus 16:14)
One thing that is most remarkable about the book of Leviticus is that it contains more of the direct words of God, than any other book in the Bible of equal bulk; that is, there are scarcely any of the words of man here, but well-nigh everything was spoken directly by God. Then we see, in this book too, that it is emphatically the book of worship.
Genesis is the book of regeneration, the beginning of the Divine life.
Exodus is the book of redemption and of calling.
Leviticus is the book of worship.
For those who have experienced the change of Genesis (Regeneration) and for those who have been brought out of Egypt through the blood of Christ our Passover sacrificed for us; so every word of God being, pure, no jot or tittle of those words of God at any time passing away, it behoves us to pay special attention to the Gospel of Leviticus, and to Christ Jesus our Lord as set forth therein.
Everything in Leviticus pertains to type, symbol and shadow, but everything thus set forth is in all its glorious reality in Heaven above today; on the earth beneath when Christ our Saviour lived, died, and rose again; .and in the hearts of His dear people by the power and operation of His divine Spirit.
Let us, in connection with our subject, speak of Christ, for I can see nothing but Christ here. Christ the Mercy Seat: Christ the Sin Offering, the blood of the bullock; Christ the Way to God. The blood of the bullock sprinkled once upon the top of the Mercy Seat and seven times before it, and we wish to hear of none but Christ.
We at once see that the blood sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat connects the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies with the Brazen Altar outside; they are inseparable, and it is a very beautiful thought, that all the way from the brazen altar to the Mercy Seat there were marks of blood. Aaron was to sprinkle the tabernacle, the vessels in the Holy Place, and the Mercy Seat and the Ark in the Most Holy Place, and lest we should mistake the Way, He marked it out with blood.
Blood marks all the way from Calvary’s Cross to the throne of grace where the LORD “waiteth to be gracious” and to commune. You may always judge, in reading the history of Israel, of their spiritual condition by the value or otherwise which they set upon the LORD’s altar. You will find that, when they forsook Him and lapsed into idolatry, the burden of the prophets by the command of God was, “They have forsaken Mine Altar,” and of Ahaz we read that, when he went to Damascus, he saw an altar which so pleased him that he had a plan drawn and sent to Urijah the priest, and it very soon replaced the brazen altar before the temple, and the words are added, that the gods of Damascus were the ruin of him and of Israel. And so when a congregation or individual professor forsakes the plain altar of Calvary, the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, for altars intellectual or superstitious of man’s devising, there is little or no spiritual life among such people, and they are on the road to that which will be designated the ruin of them and of all Israel.
What is the value which you put upon the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, in all its naked simplicity, in all its profound depth, height and grandeur?
Is that the place which you esteem the most precious and valuable, or are your hearts hankering after some Assyrian altar, the form and the fashion of it alike pleasing to intellectual pride of man?
Let us first of all speak of Christ the Mercy Seat. In the tabernacle and temple every whit of those wonderful structures utter the glory of our blessed Saviour, but the Ark and the Mercy Seat, (the lid or the cover of the Ark) utter that glory more than any other object, and more beautifully foreshadow our Lord Jesus. The Ark composed of acacia wood covered outside and inside with the purest gold: the Mercy Seat framed of purest gold alone, without any admixture of wood therein: so we look upon the Ark and its materials as setting forth the Person of our Lord – the wood His human nature, and the gold His divine, joined in the one Christ. Then we consider the purpose for which the Ark was intended, and we have a beautiful picture of the work of our Lord Jesus. Again, we look at the Ark of the Covenant, and get a very beautiful view of the most blessed and undivided God, for wherever there is Christ, there is the Father and the Holy Spirit. Wherever there is Christ and the poor sinner meeting, there are the transactions of a covenant salvation taking place, and in the Ark I see a type of my Lord Jesus, God manifest in the flesh. In the Shekinah Cloud between the cherubims, lighting up with its lustre the darkness of the Holy of Holies, and revealing the Ark and the cherubims, I behold the type of the Holy Spirit, illuminating to the eye of the worshipper of Christ and the things of Christ, and from the Cloud I hear the Voice of God the Father; therefore we have the blessed Godhead manifest in the Ark of the Covenant, the Mercy Seat, and the Shekinah Cloud. Here then we see in the Ark the token which God gave to Israel of Hisabidingr presence with His people, that presence manifested to His people in the person of Christ Jesus the Lord. The tabernacle ever occupied the centre of the camp, and the central object in the tabernacle was the Ark of the covenant and the Shekinah Cloud, and God says to His people Israel, “as they encamp so shall they set forward, every man in his place,” (Numbers 2:17) – that is, every tribe had a defined position with regard to the tabernacle; every individual and every tribe had a definite position, and as they encamped so they were to set forward, “every man in his place,” keeping rank, and so we have in the midst of the camp, our Saviour, the great Ark of the Covenant, and, if I am right in relation to my LORD, I am right in relation to my fellow believers, and, if Jesus is in the midst of your heart, thoughts and desires you are right in relation to Him, and you will be right in relation to your fellow pilgrims who travel through the wilderness.
The Ark of the Covenant; Have you noticed that as it journeyed through the wilderness it was never exposed to the gaze of the people. It was carried upon the shoulders of the priests, but what was it covered with? It was covered first with the Vail of blue, purple, scarlet and fine twined linen. That was the first covering and over that was the covering of badger skins, and over that a magnificent cloth of blue (Numbers 4:5-6). What does all that represent in relation to our blessed Lord Jesus? The lovely vail, there we have the beauties and glories of His person; the badger skins – our Lord Jesus in His humiliation, without form or comeliness. The blue cloth over all – there was His heavenly character extorting even from those who apparently did not know His name the acknowledgment, “Never man spake like this Man” (John 7:46). But there was a little company without the crowd, there was the woman who came from the outskirts of the crowd and touched His garments, who by the eye of faith saw the glory of His Person, whilst others saw only the badger skins, but one and all were constrained-to say, ‘Surely His character is different from all the sons of men!’
Once I read that the Ark went before the people. It went before them more than once, but on this particular occasion the Ark of the Covenant went before them for three days journey to search out a resting place for them (Numbers 10:33). Is this not a glorious type of our Lord Jesus, who by His death and glorious resurrection went to search out a resting place for His people, and returned to tell them of it? He sought it through darkness, sorrow, pain and distress.
There is the Ark: and the Mercy Seat is just the cover or lid, made of a slab of purest gold, absolutely fitting over the whole of the Ark, and underneath that slab, in the Ark, there were the two tables of the Law; that is what the Ark was made for. Subsequently other objects were added, but this was the primary object of the construction of the Ark. Those two tables were a witness against every man; those two tables of the Law contained the commandments, all of which have been broken by all of us many thousands of times. They were blazing with curses against one and all who had broken that Law, but that Law is placed in the Ark, in the heart of Jesus, fulfilled in His life and by Him, and over all there was the Mercy Seat, that slab of purest gold. Now it occurred to me this morning in thinking over this subject, what a beautiful verse that is in Revelation 21 and the 21st verse – “The street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.” And so the pure gold of the Mercy Seat under the eyes of Yahweh was like “transparent glass” and Yahweh looked through the Mercy Seat and He saw the Law fulfilled on behalf of the people of God by the transparent work, life and death (free from all admixture of sin) of Christ Jesus our Lord – absolutely fitting:
Complete atonement, Thou hast made, And to the utmost farthing paid. Whate’er Thy people owed.
Oh! we have a golden Saviour in the sense of His being infinitely precious, transparent, free from sin to the eye of Yahweh and to the eyes of His dear people “The chiefest among ten thousand and the altogether lovely” (Song of Solomon 5:10; 5:16). Christ himself is the Mercy Seat where God meets with His dear people – “There will I meet with thee (poor sinner), and there will I commune with thee from above the Mercy Seat” (Exodus 25:22). And hear the gracious word concerning our beloved Lord Jesus in the 3rd chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (or Mercy Seat, the two words being the same) through faith in His blood,” – there is the sprinkling of the blood on the Mercy Seat by the finger of Aaron. Oh! this is why we love the atoning work of our dear Lord Jesus. This is why we love the Gospel of the Blood, the only Gospel that can cleanse a sinner and bring him peace with God.
But what are those objects upon the Mercy Seat – the cherubims facing one another? How were they placed there? They were not placed there at all; they were beaten out of the same gold that comprised the lid of the Mercy Seat, part and parcel of it, not separately made and placed there. Behold then in the cherubim the type of the whole election of God, the glorious truth set forth in figure of union with the Lord Jesus Christ, partakers of His nature through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. See in the cherubim upon the Mercy Seat, not only the glorious truth of covenant union of the whole election of God with a precious Christ, but this sweet truth expressed – “He that dwelleth in the secret place (that is the Holy of Holies) shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). A great deal, it seems to me, of very unnecessary teaching has been put forward with regard to the cherubims. You go to the 3rd of Genesis and read of the expulsion of our first parents from Eden’s Garden, and the chapter closes like this – “He placed at the east” of the Garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the Tree of Life.” Newberry’s Bible shows that the word rendered ‘place’ is really the same as used for `tabernacle’! He tabernacled. Let us put it like that – He tabernacled at the east of the Garden of Eden, and the cherubims were there and there was a flaming flickering light (the Shekinah Cloud) which turned every way to keep the way of the Tree of Life. Behold there, directly after the fall, the glorious typical fore-shadowing of the union of Christ and His people, the Seed of the woman to tabernacle in the Midst of His people.
Christ and His members ever stood A glorious mystic Man.
Christ, by tabernacling to preserve the way of the Tree of Life, and to preserve His people in and through Himself to enter presently into the presence of God and into the service and worship of Heaven where they will see Him face to face. Sinner, are you to-day as a sinner, as a poor sinner, looking unto Jesus? Is He your hope, your desire, the trust of your soul? Can you say –
‘Thy mercy my God is the theme of my song, The joy of my heart, and the boast of my tongue’?
Do you know anything about Christ as a Throne of Grace? Do you know anything of going and pleading with Him for His blessing and salvation? All the types show this and speak this. He hath searched out a resting place FOR YOU. He gives resting places to His people here – Elim – places under the shade of the palm trees, but bless His Name we are travelling to fairer worlds on high. “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2), and I will prepare you and preserve you in Myself – ready for My glorious coming.
Secondly, Christ as the SIN OFFERING. This chapter of course has to do with the Day of Atonement when we get the very essence of all the typical worship of the Children of Israel. Christ the Sin Offering. It is a remarkable thing that the word rendered “sin offering” in relation to the bullock and sin offerings generally, really should be rendered “SIN.” That is, constituted sin. He “was made SIN for us who knew no sin.” That is, constituted sin. He “was made to be SIN for us who knew no sin.” (2nd Corinthians 5:21); “being made a curse for us” (Glatians 3:13). There was that bullock that had been constituted sin by the confession of sin upon his head by Aaron and his sons, and that bullock had been slain; its blood had been poured out all round the altar base, and its remains, or part of them, had been taken outside the camp and there consumed, “burned without the camp” (Hebrews 13:11). Just look at that type – the bullock made sin. It means the blood of another for me the offeror. It means another substituted in my room, place and stead.
It means another’s death for my sin, but it also means this – the bullock was called sin, and was to be absolutely consumed, so all the sins laid upon Jesus were consumed, gone forever and forever. We turn from the shadow to the substance. Aaron we are told by the blood of others went into the holiest of But there was no affinity between the blood of the bullock and his sin. Hebrews 9:12 – “But Christ by His own blood He entered in once into the Holy place.” – the blood of Him who is God the Son, and therefore whose blood has a Divine value, efficacy and power. That blood was poured out at the base of the altar, and so Christ our Lord Jesus says “This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20). The pouring out of the blood of the Sin Offering signifies reconciliation, and the use of the finger in the sprinkling of the blood, signifies purification. Aaron knew the value of that Blood which he thus sprinkled upon and before the Mercy Seat.
Lastly, Christ the WAY to GOD. The blood was sprinkled once on the Mercy Seat eastward, and seven times before the Mercy Seat, towards the entry of the Vail. What does that mean? Seven is the number of spiritual perfection, and the root of the word is to be full, to be satisfied. God, the Law and Justice are satisfied with the death, the atoning work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sprinkled only once on the top of the golden Mercy Seat eastward. Why eastward? Because God is always described as coming from the East. Our Lord Jesus referring to His second coming said (Matthew 24:27) “For as the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” – FROM THE EAST. Once upon the Mercy beat – that is the blood Godward. “Christ hath suffered ONCE for all” (1st Peter 4:1). No more offering for sin needed. No more repetition of the Blood shedding. Seven times before the Mercy Seat as a confirming testimony to the people, as a blessed message this morning to every poor, trembling, hoping, feeble sinner here. Seven times on the ground that we occupy; once, before God. God satisfied. Seven times before men to denote the glorious fulness and satisfaction.
Are you troubled in conscience on account of sin? Bless God you are not called to the place of Aaron. The work is accomplished, and every sinner who attempts by his own efforts to appease God is expressing his own unbelief. Oh! I bless God that the sprinkled Blood speaketh – an intensely present tense, – speaketh better things than the blood of Abel; it speaketh mercy and grace; it answers every accusation that your own conscience can bring against you, and that the Devil can bring against you. The Blood speaketh in answer to every accusation. The Blood speaketh; it calls down ceaseless blessing, and every blessing that we enjoy cometh through the Blood that speaketh. It cleanseth from all sin; it delights the Ear of God, so that through the Blood a holy and righteous God can open His hand and fill us with good. The Blood speaketh with its still small voice of power, “Come unto ME ALL ye that labour and are heavy laden and I WILL give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
And so the Blood shall speak until the day of full redemption, when the whole assembly (Hebrews 12:23) in the glory shall manifest forever its mighty efficacy and most wondrous power. There is now a new and living Way; Christ the Way to God; a new and living Way (Hebrews 10:20), for He who shed the blood lives to die no more, and just as Aaron, when he entered the Holy of Holies with the precious blood, entered the place which by God’s command had been filled with incense from the golden censer (the Heart, the person of the Lord Jesus), so the fragrance filling the Holy of Holies is a picture of all the fragrance arising from His mighty sacrifice on-the cross. A transparent Mercy Seat, God well pleased, all Heaven filled forever with the odour and fragrance of a Saviour’s life, death and resurrection. Oh what marvels has our God accomplished through His own most blessed Son. Now our Aaron abideth forever in the Heaven of heavens; the presence of God shall be manifest forever to the countless multitude in heaven through the flesh of Christ, through the person of the Man, Christ Jesus. Oh! I sometimes think what an added glory that must have been in Heaven when there entered the Risen Man, the Man in the Glory, the Man Christ Jesus! The only Man who was able to stand before God on the ground of His own righteousness, and of His own obedience. Our Aaron passed into the Heavens; He has passed there to prepare a place for His sons and daughters! He has passed there to represent us before the Throne of God! He has passed there and represent us before the Throne of Grace! He has passed there and is enveloped in all the fragrance of His Person and work, to bless poor sinners on earth who come to Him weary, weeping, penitent, and heavy laden. He abideth there to guide, to receive us when we are called to die, and presently to come again without sin unto salvation and living souls love the living Way. Living souls long to know more of Christ, the living Way. Living souls look to Him the living Way. May the Holy Spirit who shined in the divine Shekinah Cloud shed that glorious lustre upon the golden slab and cherubim illuminating our hearts and minds, so that we may feel the power of the blessed union that exists between Christ and His dear people, and of faith.
John E. Hazelton – 1907