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the blood for an oblation at the altar, he must, at all events, reverently pour out the blood as unto God, and cover it as he would a human body in a grave. And to this day this custom prevails widely throughout the East; not among Jews alone, but among Christians and Muhammadans, as also among those of other religions.1
Under the Mosaic ritual, the forms and the symbolisms of sacrifice were various. But through them all, where blood was an element,-in the sin-offering, in the trespass-offering, in the burnt-offering, in the peace-offering, blood always represented life, never death. Death was essential to its securing; but, when secured, blood was life. Death, as the inevitable wages of sin, had already passed unto all men; and "death reigned from Adam to Moses"; but, with the full disclosure of the law, in Moses, which made sin apparent, there came, also, a disclosure of an atonement for sin, and of a cure for its consequences. Death was already here; now came the assurance of an attainable life. The sinner, in the very article of death, was shown that he might turn, in self-surrender and in loving trust, with a proffer of his own
1 A traveler in Mauritius, describing a Hindoo sacrifice there, of a hegoat, in fulfilment of a vow, says: "It was killed on soft ground, where the blood would sink into the earth, and leave no trace" (Pike's Sub-Tropical Rambles, p. 223). See also page 109, supra.
LIFE IS MORE THAN DEATH.
life, by substitute blood, to God; and that he might reach out hopefully after inter-union with God, by the sharing of the divine-nature in the unfailing covenant of divine-human blood-friendship. Thus "not as the trespass [with its mere justice of punishment; but] so also [and much more,' of grace alone,] is the free gift [of life to the justly dead]."'
All the detailed requirements of the Mosaic ritual, and all the specific teachings of the Rabbis, as well, go to show the pre-eminence of the blood in the sacrificial offerings; go to show, that it is the life (which the blood is), and not the death (which is merely necessary to the securing of the blood), of the victim, that is the means of atonement; that gives the hope of a sinner's new inter-union with God.
In a commentary on a Talmudic tract, on The Day of Atonement, Rabbi Obadiah of Barttenora, notes the fact, that in the choice by lot of the priests who were to have a part in the daily sacrifice, the priest first selected "obtained the right [of priority], and sprinkled the blood upon the altar, after he had received it in the vessel for the purpose; for he who sprinkled the blood [is the one who had] received the blood. The next priest to him killed the sacrifice, and this notwith
1 Rom. 5: 12–21.
2 See Quarterly Statement of Pales. Expl. Fund, for July, 1885, pp. 197-207.
standing [the fact] that the slaying preceded the receiving of the blood; because the office of sprinkling was higher than that of slaying; for the slaying was lawful if done by a stranger; which was not the case with the sprinkling." The death of the victim was a minor matter: it was the victim's life, its blood which was its life, that had chief value and sacredness.
On this same point Dr. Edersheim says: "The Talmud declares the offering of birds, so as to secure the blood [so as to secure that which was pre-eminently precious] to have been the most difficult part of a priest's work. For the death of the [victim of the] sacrifice was only a means towards an end; that end being the shedding and sprinkling of the blood, by which the atonement was really made. The Rabbis mention a variety of rules observed by the priest who caught up the blood—all designed to make the best provision for its proper sprinkling. Thus, the priest was to catch up the blood in a silver vessel pointed at the bottom, so that it could not be put down; and to keep it constantly stirred, to preserve the fluidity of the blood. In the sacrifice of the red heifer, however, the priest caught the blood directly in his left hand, and sprinkled it with his right towards the Holy Place: while in that of the leper, one of the two priests received the blood in the vessel; the other [received
The Temple, Its Ministry and Services, p. 88, f.
THE BLOODY HAND.
it] in his hand, from which he anointed the purified leper."
Recognizing the truth that in the sacrifices of the Mosaic ritual "consecration by blood is consecration in a living union with Jehovah," Professor W. Robertson Smith observes,1 that "in the ordinary atoning sacrifices the blood is not applied to the people [it is merely poured out Godward, as if in sign of life surrender]; but in the higher forms, as in the sacrifice for the whole congregation (Lev. 4: 13 seq.), the priest at least dips his hand in it, and so puts the bond of blood between himself, as the people's representative, and the altar, as the point of contact with God." And so, on the basis of the root-idea of the primitive rite of the covenant of blood, an inter-union is symbolized between the returning sinner and his God.
The aim of all the Mosaic sacrifices was, a restored communion with God; and the hope which runs through them all is of a divine-human inter-union through blood. "The one purpose which is given after every sacrifice in the first chapters of Leviticus," says Stanley, "is, that it 'shall make a sweet savour unto the Lord'." And Edersheim says,5 of all the various sacri
1 The Old Test. in the Jewish Church, Notes on Lect. XII. See pages 11, 12, supra. 3 Lev. 1: 13, 17; 2: 2, 12; 3: 8, 16. Christian Institutions, Chap. 4.
5 The Temple, Its Min. and Serv., p. 82.
fices of the ritual: "These were, then, either sacrifices of communion with God, or else [were] intended to restore that communion when it had been disturbed or dimmed through sin and trespass: sacrifices in communion, or [sacrifices] for communion, with God. To the former class belong the burnt and the peace-offerings; to the latter, the sin and the trespass offerings.'
The sin-offering of that ritual was, in a sense, the basis of the whole system of sacrifices. The chief feature of that offering was the out-flowing of its blood Godward. The offering itself was a substituteoffering for an individual or for the entire people. Its blood was sprinkled upon the horns of the altar of burntoffering, or poured out at the base of that altar,2-the altar of personal consecration; or, it was sprinkled within the Holy Place toward the Most Holy Place,3—the symbolic dwelling-place of Jehovah: and again it was made to touch the horns of the altar of incense, which sent up its sweet savor to God: in every case, it was the outreaching of the sinner toward inter-union with God, in a covenant of blood.
The whole burnt-offering of the Mosaic ritual symbolized the entire surrender to God, of the individual or of the congregation, in covenant faithfulness; the giving of one's self in unreserved trust to Him 1The Temple, Its Min. and Serv., p.
2 Lev 4: 7, 18, 25, 30, 34.
3 Lev. 4: 6, 7, 17; 16: 14, 15.