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THE TRUE LESSON OF THE ALTAR.
[But remember that that is not the completion of a covenant with me].
For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them,
In the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt,
[As if burnt offerings and sacrifices were the all important thing];
But this thing I commanded them, saying,
Hearken unto my voice,
And I will be your God,
And ye shall be my people;
And walk ye in all the way that I command you,
That it may be well with you." 1
Once more, by Hosea :
"O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee?
O Judah, what shall I do unto thee?
For your goodness is as a morning cloud,
For I desire mercy and not sacrifice;
And the knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings.
[or, as the Revisers' " margin" would render it,
"But they are as men that have transgressed a covenant" :]
[Therein have they proved unfaithful to the requirements of the blood-covenant on which they assumed to be resting, in their sacrifices].
1 Jer. 7: 21-23.
2 Hosea 6: 4-7.
And so, all the way along through the prophets, in repeated emphasis of the incompleteness of the bloodcovenanting symbols in the ritual sacrifices.
Concerning the very rite of circumcision, which was the token of Abraham's covenant of blood-friendship with the Lord, the Israelites were taught that its spiritual value was not in the formal surrender of a bit of flesh, and a few drops of blood, in ceremonial devotedness to God, but in its symbolism of the implicit surrender of the whole life and being, in hearty covenant with God. "Behold, unto the Lord thy God belongeth the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that therein is. Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all peoples as at this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked."1 "And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessings and the curse which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, and shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; that then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and
1 Deut. 10: 14-16.
WRITTEN ON THE HEART.
gather thee from all the peoples, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live."1 And when this has come to pass, the true seed of Abraham,2 circumcised in heart,3 shall be in the covenant of blood-friendship with God.
So, also, with the phylacteries as the record of the blood-covenant of the passover, they had a value only as they represented a heart-remembrance of that covenant, by their wearers. Says Solomon, in the guise of Wisdom.
"My son, forget not my law;
But let thine heart keep my commandments.
Let not mercy and truth forsake thee:
Bind them about thy neck;
Write them upon the table of thy heart;
So shalt thou find favor and good understanding
In the sight of God and man." 4
"Keep my commandments and live;
And my law as the apple of thine eye.
Bind them upon thy fingers;
Write them upon the table of thine heart." 5
And the prophet Jeremiah foretells the recognition of
this truth in the coming day of better things:
1 Deut. 30: 1-6.
2 Gal. 3:7-9;
Rom. 4: II, 12.
5 Prov. 7: 2, 3.
3 Rom. 2: 26-29; Phil. 3: 3. Prov. 3: I-4.
"Behold the days come, saith the Lord,
That I will make a new covenant
With the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers.
To bring them out of the land of Egypt
[That covenant was the blood-covenant of the over; of which the phylacteries were a token.]
Which my covenant they brake,
Although I was an husband unto them [a lord over them] saith
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of
After those days, saith the Lord ;
I will put my law in their inward parts,
[Instead of its being written as now, outside of them, on their hand and on their forehead.]
And I will be their God,
And they shall be my people.
And their sin will I remember no more."
The blood-covenant symbols of the Mosaic law all pointed to the possibility of a union of man's spiritual nature with God; but they did not in themselves either assure or indicate that union as already accomplished; nor did they point the way to it, as yet made clear. They were only "a shadow of the things to come."
1 Jer. 31: 31-34.
2 Col. 2: 17.
BLOOD FOR BLOOD.
Another gleam of the primitive truth, that blood is life and not death, and that the transference of blood is the transference of life, is found in the various Mosaic references to the goel (), the person who is authorized to obtain blood for blood as an act of justice, in the East. And another proof of the prevailing error in the Western mind, through confounding blood with death, and justice with punishment, is the common rendering of the term goel, as "avenger," or "revenger," in our English Bible, wherever that term applies to the balancing of a blood account; although the same Hebrew word is in other connections commonly translated "redeemer," or "ransomer."4
Lexicographers are confused over the original import of the word goel;5 all the more, because of this confusion in their minds over the import of blood in its relation to death and to justice. But it is agreed on all hands, that, as a term, the word was, in the East, applied to that kinsman whose duty it was to secure 1 Num. 35: 12; Deut. 19: 6, 12; Josh. 20: 3, 5, 9.
2 Num. 35: 19, 21, 24, 25, 27; 2 Sam. 14: II.
3 Job 19: 25; Psa. 19: 14; 78: 35; Prov. 23: 11; Isa. 41: 14; 43: 14; 44: 6, 24; 47: 4; 48: 17; 49: 7, 26; 54: 5, 8; 59: 20; 60: 16; 63: 16; Jer. 50: 34.
4 * Comp. Isa. 51: 11; Jer. 31: II.
5 "A term of which the original import is uncertain.
obscurity of its etymology testifies to the antiquity of the office which it denotes." (Speaker's Com at Num. 35: 12.)