OUR recent celebration of the Passover has raised the question, Did the sacrifice of the Passover lamb on the 14th day of the first month represent the same thought as the sacrifice of the Atonement Day on the 10th day of the seventh month?
We answer, No, not exactly. These two types were put at opposite ends of the year; the one at the beginning of the religious year and the other at the beginning of the secular year. The secular year began in the fall and the religious year in the spring. The Passover sacrifice in the [R4384 : page 133] beginning of the religious year represented particularly the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus on behalf of the Church only, while the Atonement Day sacrifice in the beginning of the secular year illustrated the sacrifice of Christ and also the sacrifice of the Church, the "royal priesthood," and the broader work thereby accomplished "for all the people."
The Passover lamb did not represent Jesus the Head and the Church his Body. It represented specifically our Lord Jesus, "The Lamb of God." It was prophesied of our Lord that not a bone of him should be broken. And the same was commanded respecting the Passover lamb. It was to be roasted whole, and not a bone of it was to be broken in the eating. Furthermore, the Passover lamb and its blood affected, preserved, "passed over," the firstborn ones only, representatives of the Church of the Firstborns only. The deliverance of the others is no part of the Passover picture.
In the Atonement Day sacrifice, there is a distinct difference. Two sacrifices were offeredone for the high priest's body and his family and the other sacrifice "for all the people." The first, as we have already seen (in Tabernacle Shadows, published twenty-nine years ago), represents our Lord's death on behalf of the Church and the entire "household of faith." The second sacrifice on the Day of Atonement represents the death of the Church as the antitype of the Lord's goat "for the sins of all the people." The same high priest offered both, and typified our Lord Jesus and his work of first performing his own sacrifice; and secondly offering us, whom he accepts as his members.
In the account of the consecration of the priests a bullock only is shown as the sin-offering (no goat, because it was not "for the people"). Then a burnt-offering is shown, which represents both the Lord and the Church in their united and yet divided position and relationship. A ram was killed and divided into pieces and washed, and then the pieces were laid in order, in relationship to the head, upon the Lord's altar; and the entire lamb was the burnt-offering. This represents the relationship of the Church, the members of the Body with the Lord, the Head of the Body.Ex. 29:10-18.
Another item connected with the sin-offering of the Atonement Day sacrifice is well worthy of notice as totally different from that of the Passover; namely, that they alone were to be burned outside the camp. The bullock [R4385 : page 133] was burned first and secondly the goat. (Lev. 16:27; Ex. 29:14.) The burning represented the gradual destruction of the flesh. Outside the camp signified ostracism, rejection of men, dishonor. The Apostle says that our Lord thus suffered outside the camp and that we should arm ourselves with the same mind, with the full intention of suffering with him as his members. St. Paul emphasizes this fact saying, "For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin (offering), are burned outside the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Let us go forth therefore [as the Lord's goat] unto him outside the camp, bearing his reproach."Heb. 13:11-13.
Notice that here the Apostle is pointing back to the typical sacrifices and comparing them with the better sacrifices of Christ and the Church; and that he exhorts us to share in Christ's sacrificeto recognize ourselves as members of the Lord's goat class who go through experiences outside the camp similar to those which our Lord enduredhe typified by the bullock, we by the goat.
Some who were once of us, but who have gone out from us, are doing all in their power to shake the faith of any with whom they have influence. Although they have professed for years to see eye to eye with us (the fulfilment of this type and the fellowship of the Church with her Lord in these very sufferings of the present time), they now seem to have gone blind as respects these things and to be anxious to blind and confuse as many others as possible. What we have presented above is what we have been presenting for the past twenty-nine years to the best of our abilityshowing, proving the Mystery of this Gospel Age to be that the elect Church is privileged to suffer with Christ as his members, and, by and by, to be glorified with him as members of the one Body, of which he is the Head.
Nothing in this, nor in anything we have ever written, controverts the idea that our Lord Jesus gave his own blood as our sacrifice and that he finished the sacrifice for us at Calvary in his own Body on the cross. Then it was, according to the Apostle, that the time came for his exaltation to be the spiritual Head over the spiritual Body. He was not that spiritual Head in the flesh. It was after his resurrection that he became the Head of the Church, his Body. And the Church become his members only as spirit-begotten New Creatures, when their mortal bodies have been presented in sacrifice and accepted. In accepting us as New Creatures the High Priest accepts our sacrificed wills and then tests us respecting the accomplishment of it, counting the blood of our sacrifice as his own, because it was his that justified ours and made ours possible.
Here we perceive the advantage of those who have wisely improved their time in the study of these truths which God caused to be prepared for their nourishment. Those who have been faithful in the study, and who lived according to it, are now strong. Others are now weak and liable to be carried about with every wind of doctrine. We cannot too strongly urge, dear friends, the necessity for spiritual nourishmentsthrough meetings and particularly through reading. No amount of hearing can take the place of reading. Moreover, we advise connected, consecutive readingespecially the six volumes of the Dawn-Studies. We remind you afresh that many are now following the suggestions of a mother and her daughter who some time ago wrote a letter to the Tower telling that they had found that they could read the entire six volumes within a year by reading twelve pages per day. They had followed this course for one year and had begun it for the next. The suggestion has been taken up by several with excellent results and we commend it to you all. Our minds are leaky vessels and many who have read the Dawn-Study series several times find that their later readings reveal to them matters which they did not see earlier.