Archives for the month of: December, 2013

By; John N Darby

Psalms 90-100 are connected together, and seem to me to describe the dealings of the Lord with the Jews, etc., in the latter day, on the earth. But I am not going to speak of that now. We may often derive comfort from principles which we find in such portions of the scripture, revealing to us, as they do, God’s character, etc.; but it is important to know the mind of the Spirit in the primary sense, as we shall then be able to discern what God is teaching us through them with a great deal more clearness and certainty.

The two principles which form the basis of what is dwelt on here are, that the workers of iniquity are allowed to lift up their heads and flourish, but that Jehovah is, and will be, Most High for evermore. There is the clear perception of this throughout. Under the temporary exaltation and prevalence of wickedness, the godly are in a very tried state, the righteous suffer; but vengeance belongs to God (not to the sufferer) therefore the cry in verses 1, 2.

To such a height are the workers of iniquity allowed to go, that, in the consciousness that Jehovah’s throne could not be cast down, the question comes in, “shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?” (v. 20). So completely has wickedness got place in the earth, that there is a sort of inquiry raised, whether the throne of iniquity could subsist in companionship of judgment with the divine throne. The answer is, judgment is coming – “Jehovah our God shall cut them off,” v. 23. Judgment shall return to righteousness in the place of trial and suffering.

The point on which I would dwell a little at present is the consolation of the saints during this time of trial – God’s “comforts.” In the first place we have the assurance, “Jehovah knoweth the thoughts of men, that they are vanity,” v. 11. Then “Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Jehovah,” etc. (v. 12, 13).

As to the pride and purpose of man, it is settled in a word. The “thoughts of man” are not only inferior to God’s wisdom but they are “vanity.” This settles the whole question. All that begins and ends in the heart of man is “vanity,” and nothing else. Whatever the state of things around, though there may be a “multitude of thoughts within,” as ‘what will all this come to?’ ‘how will that end?’ and the like – every barrier we can raise, all our strength, all our weakness, whatever the wave after wave that may flow over us – Jehovah’s thought about it all is, that it is “vanity.” All is working together to one object – God’s plan, that upon which His heart is set – the glorification of Jesus, and ours, with Him. Every thought and every plan of man must therefore be “vanity,” because it has not this, God’s object, for its object; and God’s object always comes to pass. There cannot be two ends to what is going on. Let men break their hearts about it, all simply comes to nothing, the end of it is “vanity.” God’s object is, that “all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.”

God’s Comfort…

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By: John N Darby

In Numbers 19 we learn the excessive jealousy of the Lord about sin, not in the sense of guilt but defilement. This He measures by His sanctuary. We have to do with it, and nothing unclean can be allowed. We are clean every whit, but the feet-washing is needed. We belong to the sanctuary and yet are in the world, though not of it; we need to have a just estimate of both. If we but touch evil, a remedy is required. Still it is not the question of justification, but of communion. Sin hinders that – hinders my coming boldly into the holiest. How was this met? The blood of the unblemished heifer, representing Christ who knew no sin and could not be brought under its power, was sprinkled before the tabernacle seven times, that is, before the place of communion, not of atonement. The sin-offering was burnt without the camp. But the blood of the red heifer was sprinkled seven times where we meet God in intercourse. This marks the full efficacy of Christ’s blood when I meet God. The body was reduced to ashes, as Christ was judged and condemned for what I am apt to be careless about; but God is not careless, and would make me sensible of sin. Christ had to suffer for it, and it is gone; but the sight of His suffering shews me the dreadfulness of it,

God has an eye that discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart; He would have us discern them too, and without this there can be no communion. But we do not get back into communion as quickly as we get out of it. Seven days elapsed in the type before there was full restoration. The Spirit takes and applies the ashes (that is, the remembrance of Christ’s agony, and what occasioned it), and makes us feel practical horror of sin.

When I look at my sin with horror, even in the sense of the grace which has met it, it is a right feeling, but not communion: it is a holy judgment of sin in the presence of grace. Hence, there was a second sprinkling – not on the third day, but the seventh, and then there is communion with God. We see that perfect grace alone maintains the sense of perfect holiness. The result, in the end, is that we increase in the knowledge of God, both as to holiness and love. We must have been out of communion before we sinned, or we should not have yielded. How came I to fall? Because of the carelessness which left me out of God’s presence, and exposed me to the evil without and within.

The Red Heifer…

By: John N. Darby

Notice in the first place that the tabernacle has been set up. It is out of the tabernacle of the congregation that this instruction is given. It supposes God is there, and it is a question of approach to Him.

There are two classes of sacrifices: those made by fire for a sweet savour; and the sin and trespass offerings (pretty much the same thing), which were not for a sweet savour, though the fat of them was burnt on the altar. The three sacrifices of sweet savour are – the burnt-offering, the meat (or meal) offering, and the peace-offering. “Peace-offering” is a bad name: “sacrifices de prosperite” they are called in French.

As to the offerings, they are here given as from Jehovah in their order; they are for men, but still from the Lord, just as Christ was; whereas, when men came to offer, they came, not with the burnt-offering, but with the sin-offering first. Here the divine statement of them is made, and the sin-offering is last because this is what Christ became when He had offered up Himself. It is first when persons come by them, and the order in a measure shews the character.

We first come in Leviticus 1 to the burnt-offering. “If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd,” and so on. Sometimes a bullock, and sometimes a goat, or a sheep, but a “male without blemish,” representing Christ in His perfection.

“Of his own voluntary will” should rather be, “for his acceptance.” There is one passage made me question it rather, but I believe that is what it should be. In chapter 22 you may make a difference; in verse 19 it means “free-will,” but in verse 29 it should be “for his acceptance.”

The offerer puts his hand on the head of the victim. “And it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him, and he shall kill the bullock before the Lord.” Then the priest was to bring the blood, and deal with that; this is the priest’s first act – to bring the blood.

The special character of the burnt-offering is, that it was not for a committed sin; on the contrary, what is to me a most wonderful thing is, that not only the question of our sins is elsewhere met, but in the burnt-offering it is the question of glorifying God in the place of sin itself – Christ “made sin.” And He who knew no sin was made sin, and stood in the place of sin (at the cross) before God, so as to glorify God there; “made sin,” which, except in a divine way of wisdom, is impossible. But Christ was made sin of His own voluntary will, and yet it was in obedience: these are combined; the two things are together. God “hath made him to be sin.” God put Him in the place of sin, and He offered Himself for sin (and He is our passover), freely and entirely for it.

198 This is what we may see in John 18, “if ye seek me, let these go their way.” Christ put Himself forward, “offered himself without spot to God”; but at the same time He is “made sin” – it is obedience too. The thing was, to unite this fact of sin being under God’s eye, and so to have it there as that God should be perfectly glorified about it. And only in a victim could this be. And there was perfectness in bringing it, for it was the giving up of Himself. Besides the fact of our sins put away there, you get nothing like the atonement. It is all for us all the while; yet Christ is there “made sin,” in absolute obedience and self-sacrifice, but making good the righteousness, and love, and majesty, and honour, and truth of God, and everything else that is in God. Now it is by this we come; and therefore it is not only that the sin-offering has been there, but in coming by this I come in all the value of that which has glorified God in the very place where I was; I come to God in all the value of this, and get the acceptance of it before God, like Abel. Nowhere else at all is anything seen like this.

Until the man lays his hand upon the victim, it is not a sacrifice properly. Christ, “through the Eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God”; but now when I lay my hand upon the victim, that is the application of it, more than part of it.

We hardly get the “made sin” in the verses here. A man’s bringing a burnt-offering is as good as coming to the Lord and saying, “I have no devotedness to bring; but all is due to the Lord, and I bring it in the person of my sacrifice,” which in principle would be Christ. This is our coming by it: but one must come as having undevotedness, and not only everything wanting, but enmity against God – all that is bad. And then I am accepted in all the value of what Christ has done. Christ has been perfect in obedience and devotedness unto death, and He glorifies God, giving Himself up to God altogether, for this is the character offering Himself has, and He is made sin, and dealt with as such, and in this shews His absolute devotedness to God. He is sinless too of course, for He is without blemish. You will get the perfectness of Christ looked at in all His thoughts and will, as attested in the meat-offering; but here more, He is given up as a victim, made sin: there is the blood and atonement here. In the meat-offering you get what Christ was Himself here it is His offering Himself in the place of sin, that is, made sin.” If I say “instead of,” I must say “sins,” here not “instead of,” but “made sin.” We have sin brought in, which is more than saying we have sinned.

199 Just look round about, and always, and see what has come of God! He created everything good, and what state is it in? It is all corruption and defilement, and, if you could have the devil gay, it is here. Where was God’s glory, and all that He had made blessed? and where was His power? It was all utter dishonour done to God. Therefore there was Jehovah’s lot on the day of atonement. The whole thing was God’s character. Suppose God cut all off: it would have set aside wickedness, but there could be no love in that, though it would have shewn how man had failed. It would have looked like, “I have not made the thing well, and I am obliged to smash it up.” But the moment Christ comes in, you get perfect love, complete righteousness against sin, all that God is, looked at as against sin in itself; you get in the cross perfect love to the sinner, God’s majesty maintained. “It became him, in bringing many sons into glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.” You get the truth of God carried out even against His own Son; that everything God is, the most opposite things, righteousness and love (which would have been so without sin, but) all brought out here in the person of Him who offered Himself in obedience and love; “that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.” Every moral element, even that which seemed incompatible, all that God is, was displayed. And this is the place where God has been dishonoured. Thus, where all evil was, everything that was base and degrading, there the opposite was brought out when Christ was made sin.

Hints on the Sacrifices in Leviticus…..