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BEFORE MOUNT SINAI.
ple answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath spoken will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning [or, 'prepared for a new start' as that phrase means],' and builded an altar under the mount, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord;"2 not sin-offerings are named, but burnt-offerings, of consecration, and peace-offerings, of communion. And now observe the celebration of the symbolic rite of the blood-covenant between the Lord and the Lord's people, with the substitute blood accepted on both sides, and with the covenant record agreed upon. "And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book [the record] of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath spoken will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people [half of it he sprinkled on the Lord's altar, and half of it he sprinkled on the Lord's people. The writer of Hebrews says that Moses sprinkled blood on the book, also; thus blood-staining the record of the covenant, according to the custom in the East, to-day], 1Kadesh-Barnea, p. 382, note. 2 Exod. 24:3-6.
Heb. 9: 19.
and [Moses] said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words [or, as the margin renders it,' upon all these conditions,' in the written compact]. Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. And they beheld God, and did eat and drink"; as in the social inter-communion, which commonly accompanies the rite of blood-friendship.
When Abraham was brought into the covenant of blood-friendship with Jehovah, it was his own blood which Abraham devoted to Jehovah. When Jehovah recognized anew this covenant of blood-friendship in behalf of the seed of his friend, Jehovah provided the substitute blood, for its symbolizing in the passover. When united Israel was to be inducted into the privileges of this covenant of blood-friendship at Mount Sinai, half of the blood came from the one party, and half of the blood came from the other party, to the sacred compact; both portions being supplied from a common and a mutually accepted symbolic substitute.
7. THE BLOOD COVENANT IN THE MOSAIC RITUAL.
With the establishment of the Mosaic law, there was an added emphasis laid on the sacredness of blood, which had been insisted on in the Noachic
1 See Exod. 24: I-II.
PROHIBITIONS OF BLOOD-EATING.
covenant; and many new illustrations were divinely given of the possibilities of an ultimate union with God through inter-flowing blood, and of present communion with God through the sharing of the substitute flesh of a sacrificial victim.
"Ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or beast, in any of your dwellings. Whosoever it be that eateth any blood, that soul shall be cut off from his people.' "1 "Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, that eateth any manner of blood; I will set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life [the soul] of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life [by reason of its being the life]. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that is among you eat blood." "For as to the life of all flesh, the blood thereof is all one with the life thereof; therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off." 3
Because of sin, death has passed upon man.
3 Lev. 17: 14.
can have new life only from the Author of life. A transfusion of life is, as it were, a transfusion of blood; for," of all flesh, the blood thereof is all one with the life thereof." If, indeed, the death-possessed man could enter into a blood-covenant with the Author of life, could share the life of him who is Life, then the dead might have new life in a new nature; and the far separated sinner might be brought into oneness with God; finding atonement in the cleansing flow of the new blood thus applied. So it pleased God to appoint substitute blood upon the altar of witness between the sinner and Himself, as a symbol of that atonement whereby the sinner might, through faith, become a partaker of the divine nature. "The wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life"-in that foreshadowed divine blood which the blood of beasts, offered on the altar, can, for a time, typify. Blood-even the blood of beasts-thus made sacred, as a holy symbol, must never be counted as a common thing; but it must be held, ever reverently, as a token of that life which is the sinner's need; and which is God's grandest gift and God's highest prerogative.
In the line of this teaching, the command went forth: "What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat in the camp, or that killeth it without the camp, and hath 1 Rom. 6: 23.
BURIAL OF BLOOD.
not brought it unto the door of the tent of meeting, to offer it [with its blood] as an oblation unto the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord: blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood [improperly]; and that man shall be cut off from among his people to the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they sacrifice in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the Lord, unto the door of the tent of meeting, unto the priest, and sacrifice them for sacrifices of peace-offering unto the Lord. And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the Lord at the door of the tent of meeting; and burn the fat for a sweet savour unto the Lord." The children of Israel were, at all times and everywhere, to reach out after communion and union. with God, through the surrender of their personal selves in the surrender of their substitute blood-with its divinely appointed symbolism of communion and union with God "in the blood of the eternal covenant" of divine friendship.2
And again: "Whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, which taketh in hunting any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with the dust." If he be at a distance from the tabernacle, so that he cannot bring Lev. 17: 13.
1 Lev. 17: 3-6.
2 Comp. Heb. 13: 20.