THE CHURCH NOT A PART OF THE RANSOM
IN THE SCRIPTURES the word ransom is used in two different senses. The one is illustrated in the statement, "The man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all" (I Tim. 2:6); the other in the text which says, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave." (Hosea 13:14.) The Church is not a part of the ransom-price, and is not referred to in I Tim. 2:6. The ransom-price is one man, our Lord Jesus, who laid down that price during the three and a half years between His consecration at Jordan and His death at Calvary. After He had ascended on high, He did not apply the ransom-price for the whole world, nor has He yet so applied it. Later, however, He will apply it for the whole world.
But He is now imputing this merit to a little class, so that this class may be made acceptable to the Father, to participate in the sufferings of Christ and to have fellowship with Him also, in His glory, in His great Office as Mediator between God and men. Thus the Church becomes a part of the Sin-Offering. This does not imply, however, that she has a share in the ransom; for one man--not many men--was the ransom-price. The Church's share, therefore, as part of the Sin-Offering, is not to be confounded with our Lord's ransom-price. Even in the sin-offering, the Church does not offer (sacrifice) the Sin-Offering. In the typical picture the high priest offered (sacrificed) both the bullock and the goat. It is not that the high priest offered the bullock and the underpriests offered the goat--as though we offer ourselves. The utmost that we can do is to consecrate ourselves to be willing sacrifices. It then remains for the High Priest to come forth and impute a sufficiency of His merit to make an acceptable sacrifice of this class represented by the goat.
Thus it is seen that we do not share in the Sin-Offering in the same sense as did our Lord. His offering was of two parts, the bullock and the goat--representing His own person and the persons of His followers. Where, then, [R4864 : page 234] does the Church appear? We answer that, not the Church, but the human beings which have offered (presented) themselves are represented in the goat. When our sacrifice takes place, the personal offering of the High Priest having been accepted, we are counted in as a part of His sacrifice, and are accepted as His members and His Under-Priests. From that time on, as His members, we have participation with Him in everything, sacrificially and otherwise. But we have no personal identity in the Holy. The New Creature that is in the Holy is a member of the Body of the High Priest, under His robe, under His merit, in the Divine arrangement.
OUR LORD'S WORK AND THAT OF THE CHURCH
Nowhere in the Scriptures is the thought presented that we, the Church, will follow our Lord into the Most Holy, as under-priests, and there sprinkle our blood in the Most Holy, as the typical high priest sprinkled the blood of the bullock. On the contrary, the high priest alone sprinkled, first, the blood of the bullock and, later, the blood of the goat. Consequently, we, as individuals, have nothing to do with the antitypical sprinkling of the blood. Our individuality, as human beings, is lost as we become members of the great High Priest and take His Name. But we do not mean to say that we shall have no individuality beyond the veil; for the Scriptures assure us that we shall be like Him. (I John 3:2.) The thought is that we shall have no individuality in respect to the glorious Office. There is but the one Melchizedek Priest. All others are lost sight of. There will be not only a Priestly, but also a Kingly Office, both of which we shall share in our relationship to Him. But any association that we have in the work of Sin-Offering, from the Divine standpoint, is all accredited to Christ and included in the work of Christ; and we are members of Him. It is to be remembered that the participation of the Church in the Sin-Offering is not, in any sense of the word, a necessity for the satisfaction of Justice, but because the Divine Plan has been so arranged as to permit us to share with Christ His glorious, higher nature and work. The participation in the suffering is purely a favor to the Church and is entirely unnecessary. It is, therefore, a wonderful favor bestowed upon us, that we might be privileged to be associated with Christ. His death and His alone was necessary for the satisfaction of Divine Justice.
It is important that we have clearly in mind the difference between the work of presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, and our Lord's work, as the great High Priest, in offering us sacrificially. The two acts seem to be distinctly separate, as shown in the type. There the goat was brought and presented at the door of the Tabernacle and tied, picturing the Covenant of Sacrifice which we make. (Psa. 50:5; 118:27.) But the goat had not yet been offered, and no one but the high priest was qualified to make the offering. The work of the high priest in killing the goat was the only offering, in the Scriptural sense of the word.
Even after we have presented ourselves acceptably to the Father, and after we have become New Creatures, living members of Christ's Body and members of the Royal Priesthood, there is a continuous work going on-- the presenting of ourselves daily. So the Lord Jesus has continued the offering all through the Gospel Age. At the end of this Age, He will finally complete the offering, which will all be considered as one; and the New Creatures will all be admitted to the Most Holy as members of His Body. It is important that we keep in mind that the sacrifice which God has accepted must continue to be presented. If ever our Lord, through our unfaithfulness, should abandon the sacrifice and let go of us, we would fail utterly. The sacrifice would be incomplete.
THE WORK OF THE SCAPEGOAT CLASS
If it be true that the Church has no merit and that the Church's sacrifice does not enter meritoriously into the matter of the satisfaction of Justice, that it is merely the merit of Christ that does so, and that we disappear, as individuals, after consecrating ourselves, what shall we say in respect to the Great Company and the fact that the iniquities and trespasses of the people were laid upon the scapegoat, which typifies that class? Is there more efficacy and merit in the scapegoat than in the Lord's goat?
We answer, the atonement for sin was accomplished by the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement, and these sacrifices were only the two--the bullock and the Lord's goat. With the blood of these two animals atonement was made for the sins of the priests and the Levites and all the people.
When the two Sin-Offerings were accepted, the atonement for sin was finished. In the antitype, this will mean that the life of the man Adam and his race is purchased back from condemnation. The "great company" class had neither part nor lot in the Sin-Offering. They had the opportunity, but they failed to go on until the sacrifice was completed; therefore, they failed to be of the priesthood. Those sins of the people that were not atoned for by the high priest, with the blood of the bullock and of the goat, were not Adamic sin. The question, then, is, What sins were they? We answer that the sin not atoned for was conduct that was reprehensible, sins that had been committed with more or less intelligence or responsibility, as, for instance, the killing of the Prophets and the crucifixion of our Lord. Although there was a certain amount of ignorance, nevertheless the Jews and their leaders were largely responsible for the death of the Prophets and of our Lord. So there have been many similar instances of violence against the Lord's saints, down through this Gospel Age; and in proportion to the intelligence of the guilty, the world has been more or less responsible for all these violations of Justice. Thus no one is released from responsibility who does anything against any of these "little ones," as the Lord calls them.
In the Lord's arrangement these sins of the world, the sins outside of sins of ignorance, sins against the Lord's people, must be settled for and cancelled in the "great time of trouble" upon the world. The Lord's arrangement is that the "great company" class shall have a special trial and testing and shall be forced forward in the time of trouble, inasmuch as they did not carry out their covenant of sacrifice willingly. Hence the Divine provision that their flesh must be destroyed in this manner. Apparently the Lord would say, "We will allow this 'great company' class to participate in this time of trouble and suffering upon the world, so that the world will have that much less to suffer later." This principle would apply to the "great company" class all down through the Age. All must have had their flesh destroyed by suffering. But we know that they have been few in number in the past as compared with the number in the end of this Age.
We must remember that the types of the Law Covenant were arranged to represent matters as they would be seen by us in the conclusion of the antitypical Day of Atonement, and not to represent the things as they would be seen while they were in progress. In the type, first, the Levites were chosen, and afterward some were selected to be priests. Just so with us. Today we might be of the priestly class; and later we might lose our standing and become merely Levites, of the servant class. We [R4864 : page 235] might, for a time, be of the "Lord's goat" class, and, through carelessness in performing our sacrifices, lose our place in the sacrificial class. Some one might take our crown and we might be thus relegated to the "great company." So these things represent the results as they will be in the end of this Age. There will be a "great company" class, which will bear certain iniquities.
WE DO NOT ENTER THE "HOLY" AS INDIVIDUALS
In the type the under priests were representatives of the high priest in that they were his sons, his family, his body. When he had finished his sacrifice of the bullock, [R4865 : page 235] he went into the "Most Holy," typically representing the ascension of our Lord and the Father's manifested acceptance of the Church sacrificed at Pentecost and since. When the sacrifice of those who are of the consecrated class is accepted of the Lord, then it is true of this class, "Ye are dead." The life of the antitypical goat is ended. "Your [new] life is hid in Christ by God."--Col. 3:3.
We have not entered the Holy as individuals. The privileges and blessings which we enjoy are ours as members of the Body of Christ. Whenever the Scripture speaks of the Priest, it refers to but one Priest. The others were privileged to assist, but neither to go into the Tabernacle, individually, on the Day of Atonement, nor to sprinkle the blood nor to offer the Sin-Offering.
We have seen that those who are of the "little flock," the Royal Priesthood, might, through failure to live up to the terms of their consecration, be rejected from the priesthood and become merely of the servant class, ordinary Levites. The question might arise, Could these, after being relegated to the "great company" class, be reinstated and accepted to the priestly class again? Our answer is, No. This picture of the Atonement Day shows the matter as it will be in the conclusion of the antitypical Day of Atonement. God, who knows the heart, never relegates any one to the "servant" class until that person shows that he has not the proper spirit to be a true "overcomer." The decision being once given, the Divine wisdom, foreknowing and foreseeing, would not reverse it. He could not err in His judgment that the person would not be fit for a place in the Bride class.
LET US NOT JUDGE ONE ANOTHER
Those who are of the sacrificing class should know that they are sacrificing and what is their relationship to the Lord. While they cannot be so positive about others, yet they ought to know about themselves. Concerning those who will be of the "great company" class they may not be able to judge. It would seem, however, that there would be certain evidences by which we might have some measure of judgment on the subject; as, for instance, in Revelation 19, it is shown that there are those who are disposed to remain in Babylon after having heard the call to "come out of her." We may infer that any brother or sister in Babylon who understands the call of God should obey. It is the duty of all those who appreciate the light of present Truth to do this. Any of these who, under these circumstances, should continue in Babylon indefinitely, would be there probably because of their failure to have sufficient courage to be sacrificed, because desiring the approval of men, or family, or whatever. These things would stand in their way and hinder them from attaining the glory, honor and immortality with their Lord. Such will not be permitted to enter into the Kingdom glory, for they have not a sufficiency of the spirit of overcomers. They have some of this spirit, but not sufficient; they are lukewarm.
It is very improper, however, for the Lord's people to give time and attention to specially judging people. If we know of a dear brother or sister in the nominal church, we could wish that he or she would come out. But we are to remember that we are not sufficiently able to judge to say that he or she is of the "great company" class. Some persons who have been quite awhile under just such conditions have stepped out suddenly and shown wonderful courage thereafter.