Dedication - Atonement and Holiness - RR172A2

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Dedication, Atonement and Holiness
Course: Course - Leviticus; The Law of Holiness and Grace
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 2
Length: 0:35:00
TapeCode: RR172A2
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Leviticus The Law of Holiness and Grace.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission

Leviticus 1

Let us worship God. Thus saith the Lord you shall seek me and find me when ye shallsearch for me with all your heart. Jesus said blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Let us pray.

O, Lord our God we give thanks unto Thee that of Thy grace and mercy Thou hast made us Thy people. We thank Thee that though we live in a troubled world we have the assurance that Thy purpose shall prevail. That even the wrath of man shall praise Thee and that the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. Grant that we walk day by day in this confidence that we be ever mindful that we are called to victory. That we have a duty to serve Thee with all our heart, mind, and being and to cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils and from the fear of man which is a snare. Strengthen us this day by Thy Word and by Thy Spirit and make us strong and faithful in Thy service. In Christ's name, amen.

Our scripture is Leviticus, the first chapter. As we begin with Leviticus proper, it is well to remind ourselves that although from the modern perspective this is hardly a popular work, it is one of the most important parts of scripture; very important to understanding the whole of our faith. In the first two or three weeks we shall lay the foundation for an understanding not only of Leviticus but of our times and of ourselves as this book of God's giving reveals unto us.

Leviticus 1:

"1And the Lord called unto Moses, and spoke unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,

"2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, if any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.

"3If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord.

"4And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burn offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.

"5And he shall kill the bullock before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. [00:03:37]

"6And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into its pieces.

"7And the sons of Aaron, the priest, shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire.

"8And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar;

"9But its inwards and its legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord.

"10And if his offering be of the flocks, namely, of the sheep, or of the goats, for a burnt sacrifice, he shall bring it a male without blemish.

"11And he shall kill it on the side of the altar northward before the Lord; and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall sprinkle its blood round about upon the altar.

"12And he shall cut it into its pieces, with its head and its fat: and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar;

"13But he shall wash the inwards and the legs with water: and the priest shall bring it all, and burn it upon the altar: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord.

"14And if the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the Lord be of fowls then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons.

"15And the priest shall bring it unto the altar, and wring off its head, and burn it on the altar; and the blood thereof shall be wrung out at the side of the altar:

"16And he shall pluck away its crop with its feathers, and cast it beside the altar on the east part, by the place of the ashes.

"17And he shall cleave it with the wings, thereof, but shall not divide it asunder: and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord." [00:05:47]

The first seven chapters of Leviticus deal with the

The first seven chapters of Leviticus deal with the laws of sacrifice, four kinds of sacrifice: the burnt offering, the peace offering, the guilt or trespass offering, and the sin offering. Meyrick commented on this some generations ago, "The burnt offering in which the whole of the victim was consumed in the fire of God's altar signifies entire self-surrender on the part of the offerer. The meat offering, a loyal acknowledgment of God's sovereignty. The sin offering, propitiation of wrath in Him to whom the offering is made, and expiation of sin in the offerer. The trespass offering, satisfaction for sin. The peace offering, union and communion between the offerer and Him to whom the offering is made." Now this summary which I just quoted falls short with respect to atonement in particular. But it is a convenient statement for introducing the sacrificial laws. The first chapter of Leviticus gives us the law of burnt offering sometimes translated as a whole offering because the whole animal was burned on the altar, except for the skin, which went to the priest, according to Leviticus 7:8. Five animals are named as suitable for sacrifice: the ox, the sheep, the goat, the dove, and the pigeon. These are all clean animals. They are all domesticated ones. There are thus three conditions required in animal sacrifices. First, they are animals specified as clean by God's Law. Second, they were domesticated animals which were commonly used for food. Third, they had to be a part of the sacrificer's personal property and wealth. They thus cost him something. Even the poor had to give a sacrifice which cost them something; a dove or a pigeon. [00:08:10]

Thus, this tells us something about atonement

Thus, this tells us something about atonement. The Bible is clear that nothing man does can earn him his redemption. It is an act of sovereign grace entirely. But at the same time, it is not costless to man. We too, pay a price as a part of our response to God's grace. The sacrificer must put his hand on the burnt offering for it to be acceptable. Verse 4 tells us that this is a necessity. This means first that, the sacrificer had to identify himself with the sacrifice, to recognize that it was a substitute for him to die in his place. The sacrificer thus acknowledges that in God's presence he stands condemned to death for his sins. God requires that for atonement, only a perfect, unblemished and innocent substitute can effect atonement. To offer a blemished sacrifice calls for death. Only an unblemished one can make atonement. Then second, by the laying on of hands, not only does the sacrificer see the sacrificed one as his substitute, but he also gives himself wholly to God. He acknowledges himself to be God's creature required to serve God with all his heart, mind and being. In verse 5 we see that it is the blood that makes atonement.

According to Leviticus 17:11, we read, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh atonement for your soul." Now this needs to be qualified. It is the blood of the God-ordained substitute for man. The blood of the one who makes atonement for man's sin. While there is life in the blood of the sacrificer, it is a death-bound life and blood.

The laws of sacrifice give us ritual. This is important to recognize. Modern man is hostile to ritual. But the ritual tells us first that God appoints the way of approach to Him. Men can never approach God nor worship Him in terms of their ways and ideas. They can only worship Him through God's appointed way and God's appointed mediator. Then second, the laws and the sacrifices are very closely related to God's statement, "I am the Lord." He is the covenant God. What He requires because He is our Lord and our sovereign is mandatory for us. We do not have to understand what God says, but we have to obey Him. Not everything in the Bible is understandable to us, but everything in the Bible is binding upon us. Now this is what ritual tells us. That there is a way prescribed by God for approaching Him. And our ideas of what would be very fine and beautiful and lovely and make service more meaningful are irrelevant in the sight of God. Then third, not only is the life in the blood, but it is the blood given to us in the unblemished sacrifice to make atonement for us. We do not offer of ourselves for atonement but that which is given to us, the unblemished Lamb alone can be offered. [00:13:00]

Now this first chapter of Leviticus, like all the sacrifices

Now this first chapter of Leviticus, like all the sacrifices, shows us a remarkable conjunction of the voluntary and the mandatory. In the second verse, we are told, "if any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord," in other words, if we choose to bring an offering; we don't have to. What this means is simply this: we can only approach God in His appointed way as set forth in His Word, but we are free to reject that way and go to Hell.

Joseph Parker's comments on ritual a century ago or more were especially apt. I'd like to quote at length. "No man was at liberty in the ancient church to determine his own terms of approach to God. The throne must be approached in the appointed way. We are now living in an era of religious licentiousness. There is a genius of worship. There is a method of coming before God. God does not ask us to conceive or suggest methods of worship. He Himself meets us with His time bill and His terms of spiritual commerce. God is in Heaven and we are upon the earth, therefore should our words be few. The law of approach to the divine throne is unchanged. The very first condition of worship is obedience. Obedience is better than sacrifice. And it's so because it is the end of sacrifice. But see, how under the Levitical ritual the worshiper was trained to obedience. Mark the exasperating minute-nous of the Law. Nothing was left to haphazard. So the Law runs on until it chafes the obstinate mind, but man was to yield. He had no choice. His iron will was to be broken in two and his soul was to wait patiently upon God. When, however, we are in the spirit of filial obedience, the very minute-nous of the Law becomes a delight. God does not speak to us in the gross. Every motion is watched. Every action is determined. Every breathing is regulated. Man is always to yield. He is not a co-partner in this high thinking. So our inventive genius of a religious kind often stands rebuked before God. We like to make ceremonies. Methods of worship seem to tempt one side of our fertile genius. And we stultify ourselves by regarding our inventiveness as an element of our devotion. We like to draw up programs and orders and schemes of service and sacrifice. What we should do is to keep as nearly as we can to the Biblical line, and bring all our arrangements with the Law of Heaven. The Law can never give way." [00:16:39]

Now the burnt offering, like the peace offering, is

Now the burnt offering, like the peace offering, is a covenant fact. It is usually separated by the sin and trespass offerings because these have to do with atonement. Whereas the burnt offering has to do with dedication. However, all the offerings are related to the fact of atonement. The laws make clear that God requires the best that we have. We are told very clearly that God must be honored. Malachi 1:6, 13 tells us, "A son honoreth his father. If then I be a father, where is my honor? Ye have brought that which was taken by violence and the lame and the sick." (That is, lame and sick animals for sacrifice) "Should I accept this of your hand, saith the Lord." So that, we are very clearly taught in scripture that we cannot bring anything but our best because God who offers up His only begotten Son takes it as an insult to Himself if we in our response to His act of atonement dedicate anything but our very best, our all.

The unblemished sacrifice in all the sacrifices of course, points to Christ. Rabbi Aaron Roscoth with regard to this burnt offerings, stated it clearly from the perspective of Judaism. "The burnt offerings signifying complete surrender to God were associated with sin offerings in the process of atonement." With this we cannot disagree. The burnt offering in the Hebrew is literally the offering that goes up, that is consumed in its entirety on the altar. Only Christ is that acceptable before God. The burnt offering rests on the fact of atonement and it sets forth the fact that our only acceptable service to God is in Christ and through His atonement. [00:19:22]

Now all that we have touched on here in Leviticus ...

Now all that we have touched on here in Leviticus 1 goes against the modern grain. Modern man finds this kind of passage of the scripture boring. Modern man of course does not find law of any kind interesting reading.

Last week we saw that Duchamp, one of the fountainheads of modern avant-garde art, was hostile to law. Marcel Duchamp hated not only law, but judgment in any and every sphere. He wanted to see the concept of judgment abolished. He sought to create a new language as well as a new physics. He wanted to enthrone chance--not God, not law, nor meaning. He sought also to create new units of measurement based totally on chance, not on regularity and law. In other words, he was trying in all the sciences and in the arts to base everything upon chance. He wrote, "Intuition led me to revere the laws of chance as the highest and deepest of laws; the law that rises from the fundament." Chance was all important to Duchamp because the only logical alternative to God is chance. You have to deny the fact of law if you deny God. It's a logical consequence. Moreover, after Freud, Duchamp denied any law or order from God in any sphere, and his faith was in the unconscious nature of man. Like others of his time, he believed very strongly in the poet Rimbaud's affirmation, "The poet becomes the seer by a long, enormous and reasoned derangement of all his senses." [00:22:00]

Now note that fact

Now note that fact. The emphasis on a reasoned derangement--you deliberately make yourself crazy. You deliberately reject God and all law for chance, for irrationality, for a deliberate insanity from the perspective of other men. At the same time of course, naturally insane people were looked upon by these avant-garde artists and Duchamp, as of intense interest and as a source of beauty. Duchamp had, and I quote from {?}'s study, "A fear of being trapped by beauty."

Think that over for a moment. It tells you something about modern art as a whole. It is a rejection of beauty. How many works of modern art--truly modern avant-garde art--have you seen that are beautiful? The reason why Duchamp had a fear of being trapped by beauty was because beauty involves judgment. When you look at someone and say, "That person, that woman is beautiful," you're passing judgment. When you look at a scene and say, "That's a beautiful terrain", or "That's a beautiful house,"(or a beautiful anything), you are making a judgment. But if you believe all things are chance, and there is no meaning in the world, you've just broken with your faith. You've said there is such a thing as beauty and non-beauty; that there is order and disorder, and implicitly, good and evil. But this is what the whole of the modern world is in rebellion against. This is why, at the height of the student rebellion a few years ago (and I was in those days on one campus after another across the country. On one occasion I spoke at three university campuses in a single day.) one of the things I noticed was that it was the most attractive girls on campus who unpopular. There was a rejection of beauty. Consciously or unconsciously, the revolutionary students hated order, law, and beauty. They were rejecting everything that mankind had ever cherished. [00:25:10]

Now Duchamp, in his position that beauty was a trap

Now Duchamp, in his position that beauty was a trap, is not an accident of history. He represents a deeply-rooted trend in the modern world--a hostility to God and to law. And this hostility has its origins in Genesis 3:5 "every man is his own god, choosing(or determining) good and evil for himself." This position has surprisingly profound echoes in modern man's being. And as a result, the hosility to law is great. We see it in every sphere.

In the recent months, I read two books on modern dance which were of particular interest to me because the thesis they advocated was this: that classical ballet ({?} people in particular before World War I), was the antithesis of everything they wanted. They hated it with a passion because the great classical ballet of the day was the Ballet Russe, Russian ballet. And for them its discipline, its order, its requirement of years of disciplined work represented Russian autocracy, regimentation, militarism and so on, and on.

Some years ago I read a book by an older artist in which he predicted that in a few years, the skills of painting would be lost. The ability to work with materials that would endure, to mix colors that would not fade or disintegrate, and so on, and on. They said the simple elements of craftsmanship were being lost, because no one was ready to discipline himself in terms of an apprenticeship in the old ways. Well, in the past year The Wall Street Journal had a long article precisely on the fact that various art galleries and museums are finding that the so-called classics of avant-garde modern art are all disintegrating. The materials they worked with, the materials they painted on, are all falling apart. Some works have been restored so many times that nothing of the original virtually remains. [00:28:11]

Now this is what

Now this is what's happening in one sphere after another: disintegration, simply because of the hostility to discipline, to law, to order. This is far gone. It means that this hatred of life by prescription rather than by man's autonomous will is deeply rooted in our culture. It governs Christians and non Christians. It is the reason why there is so much antinomian-ism in the church, so extensive a hatred of the Law of God, a feeling that it's not valid for us, a hostility for those who abide by it. Leviticus spells death to the modern mind, because it is, like all of scripture, a prescriptive book. A prescriptive book. I've often told groups that I've spoken to across country that the Bible was not intended to be an inspiring book, it's the inspired book. But it's hardly inspiring when it tells us about our sin, tells us, 'This is the way. Walk ye in it,' tells us that all we like sheep have gone astray, tells us of our sins and shortcomings. It's the inspired book, but it's a command book. It is marching orders. God speaks in His Word and He doesn't care whether or not we're inspired by it. What concerns Him is that we walk by it. Leviticus 18:5 declares very plainly, "Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and judgments, which if a man do, he shall live in them. I am the Lord." But modern man prefers death. [00:30:45]

Well, Leviticus tells us that the way of life is a

Well, Leviticus tells us that the way of life is a way of prescription. God's prescription. But we want to prescribe to God. As one very fine pastor commented a while back, all too many prayers by people to God are prayers giving God his instructions for the day. 'Lord, here's what you've got to {?} today, so get busy with it! Amen.' But Leviticus is unavoidably very different. We read it and we find that we have to bend our minds to it. It doesn't serve us. It isn't intended to inspire us. Now once we approach Leviticus with that in mind, we find it an exciting book. Because as we go into it and we begin to see after we're into about three chapters or four, what it's leading up to, what it has to say about our times and our world, because it fits all times, we find that there are exciting directions and orders given to us by God through Leviticus that make us stronger, that arm and equip us in a way that is exciting, and thoroughly wonderful.

Thus, I believe that a careful study of Leviticus is a marvelous educational enterprise. It will strengthen us. It will be profitable for our souls. "Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, which if a man do, he shall live in them. I am the Lord." Let us therefore choose life.

Let us pray.

Oh Lord our God, Thy Word is truth. And Leviticus was given to the Israelites of old and to us. Given to us to be marching orders. Given to us that we might, by Thy prescription make our lives whole, make ourselves strong for Thy service, and that we might know and understand the way of life. Give us grace, therefore, to submit to Thy Word, to hear and obey. And by Thy grace and mercy to understand. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost bless you and keep you, guide and protect you this day and always. Amen. [00:34:37]

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