Friday, June 2

Psalms 107 (Greek and Latin 106): This psalm celebrates God’s deliverance of His People in four situations of distress (corresponding to the four directions of the compass in verse 3). These are described in language with multiple references. Thus, when the psalm speaks of suffering in a waterless, trackless wasteland, this may be understood as referring to the return from the Babylonian Exile as well as to the earlier wandering of the Exodus generation.

It may also include any experience of being lost and trying to find one’s way back home. t may describe the journey of a reckless son lost in a distant country and already given up for dead (Luke 15:13, 24). This son, in turn, may be Jacob exiled in Harran, where the drought consumed him by day, and the frost by night, and sleep departed from his eyes (cf. Gen. 31:40). And it may likewise be any one or all of us, exiled from the Garden and wandering away from the face of God. This part of the psalm, then, is a parable of ourselves “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12).

Similarly, the psalm’s next part, dealing with bondage or imprisonment, may refer to Joseph sold into slavery, fettered in a foreign land and presumed already to have perished (Gen. 37). Or it may be descriptive of Micaiah (1 Kin. 22:26, 27), or Jeremiah (chapters 37—39), or John the Baptist (Matt. 11; 14), or the Apostle Paul (Acts 23—26). And it may refer to our spiritual captivity, of which Jesus said that He came to set the oppressed at liberty (Luke 4:18).

Then there is the section of the psalm describing conditions of sickness, which is manifold in its applications. This could be a prayer during the deathly illness of King Hezekiah, for instance, or the affliction of the paralytics of Capernaum (Mark 2) and Bethesda (John 5), or the woman with chronic bleeding (Mark 5), or the lame man at the gate called Beautiful (Acts 3). To Jesus, after all, they brought “all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them” (Matt. 4:24). And the Lord’s healing especially concerns the forgiveness of sins (cf. Mark 2:5; John 5:14). This part of the psalm, then, is also a metaphor of our own various illnesses.

Likewise, when our psalm speaks of enduring a storm at sea, it may refer to the storm suffered by the shipmates of Jonah, or St. Paul, or the disciples on the Lake of Gennesaret, while Jesus yet slept in the stern of the boat. The fierce storm of this story may also indicate all of us as “children, tossed to fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Eph. 4:14). Many and diverse are this world’s storms and hurricanes.

Exodus 40: Moses thus did “everything that the Lord commanded him” (verses 16,19,21,23,25,27,29,32).

The Israelites have now been at the base of Sinai for about nine months (verse 17) and have already received, as we saw earlier, their marching orders (33:1). They are nearly ready to depart.

Everything is to be anointed with consecratory oil (verses 9-15). The Christian will read these verses in the awareness that the tabernacle itself is a prefiguration of Christ, the Anointed One. The Son of God, anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, is the permanent presence of God to humanity.

The glory of the divine presence descends into the tabernacle (verses 34-38). This glorious cloud, associated with both the passage through the Red Sea and the giving of the Law on Sinai, is now a feature of God’s ongoing presence with His people. Both events become permanent and “institutionalized” in the Mosaic tabernacle. The divine overshadowing will in due course be transferred to the Solomonic temple at Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:10-11), as well as the second temple (Haggai 2:6-9).

Saturday, June 3

Acts 1:15-26: An apologetic consideration of the Lord’s Resurrection leads logically to the subject of Ecclesiology, the institution of the Twelve being the link between the two subjects. We learn about the Resurrection, after all, from the testimony of witnesses, and the Church from the beginning was formed and structured around the testimony and authority of specific men who were the appointed witnesses of the risen Jesus. These men were originally known simply as “the Twelve” (1 Corinthians 15:5; John 6:67; 20:24)

Certainly the Lord appeared to others besides these Twelve (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:5-8; Matthew 28:9; Mark 16:9-12; Luke 24:13-35; John 20:11-18). Nonetheless, each of the four Gospels concentrates attention on a specific revelation to the Twelve (or, more precisely, the Eleven), a revelation in which the risen Lord commissioned these men with particular authority as His appointed witnesses (Matthew 28:16-19; Mark 16:14-15; Luke 24:47-49; John 20:21; 21:15-17).

Although the four Evangelists differ greatly among themselves with respect to the details of this revelation–and even the locale where it took place–the fact of the apostolic revelation is the same in each account, and each contains some form of the Great Commission.

This means that the authority of these Twelve is in every case related to their qualifications to testify to the factual truth of the Resurrection. The four Evangelists, in varying ways and in accord with the local traditions on which they rely, bear witness to that common apostolic authority. By reason of a special commission given by the risen Jesus Himself, those Twelve formed a corporate, cohesive unit of apostolic authority in the Church.

Indeed, their number itself was deemed important to the Church’s foundation. When the Twelve were reduced to Eleven because of the defection of Judas, they promptly provided for another man to take his place, prior to the descent of the Holy Spirit. It is worth reviewing the conditions on which that choice was based: “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection” (Acts 1:21-22).

When God’s choice fell on Matthias, therefore, “he was numbered with the Eleven Apostles” (1:26). Chosen from a larger group of those who had seen the risen Jesus, Matthias was now officially taken into, “numbered with,” this distinct body of authorized witnesses. This was not an individual but a corporate calling. Matthias became a “witness” to the Resurrection “with” them. To these Twelve, all of them chosen by God, was entrusted a special authority to speak to and for the Church, particularly with respect to the Resurrection.

The Apostles themselves did not select Matthias. He was not voted on. He was chosen, says the Sacred Text, by “lot.” Indeed, the Greek word for “lot” here is kleros, and it is worth noting that this is the root of the word “clergy.” Matthias became, rather literally, a “clergyman,” a man selected by lot.

The ministry of the men thus chosen as authoritative witnesses was rooted in the Lord’s Resurrection. This truth is perhaps clearest in Matthew’s version of the Great Commission, where Jesus begins by declaring, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” It is in virtue of that authority that Jesus then directs this select group of men, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:18-19).

The important link word of this passage is “therefore.” That is to say, the mission of the Twelve is the proper inference drawn from the premise of the authority and glorification of Jesus by virtue of the Resurrection. The office and ministry of apostolicity is inseparable from, and totally depends on, the Resurrection of Christ. The apostolic authority in the Church was founded on the Resurrection as on a validating principle.

Finally, inasmuch as they were eyewitnesses, the Twelve could have no “successors.” Witnesses cannot be replaced, and the institution of the Twelve could not be replaced. This institution pertained only to the founding of the Church, not its later history. The “apostolic succession” of the Church does not include a succession to the institution of the Twelve. Thus, after one of them was martyred (Acts 12:2), no substitute was chosen for him. Other men in the New Testament were called “apostles,” but no one could take the place of these Twelve. Their ministry was unique, because it was “foundational” to the Church’s origin (cf. Revelation 21:14).

Pentecost Sunday, June 4

Acts 2:1-21: The Psalmist prays, ““Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew the right Spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and strengthen me with thy governing spirit.”
This verse from the 51st Psalm suggest three points appropriate for consideration on this day commemorative of the Gift of the Holy Spirit:

First, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew the right Spirit within me.” This verse tells us that renewal in the Holy Spirit is inseparable from purity of heart. In those impure of heart there is no guidance of the Holy Spirit, no Spirit of wisdom, no Spirit of discernment, no fear of God.

It is imperative that the Holy Spirit not be confused with just any spirit that happens to speak to us. Indeed, most of us know our hearts well enough to suspect that most spirits that speak to us are not of God at all. And if our own hearts do not warn us of this danger, God’s Word does so. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God,” wrote St. John (1 John 4:1).

The Apostle John perceived, even in his own day, the peril of confusing the Holy Spirit with every manner of deception and mendacity. The Bible insists that there are many sprits in this world that have in mind to deceive the children of God. These spirits will usually tell us exactly what we want to hear, which is why we listen to them readily. We recall the admonition of the prophet Micaiah to King Ahab. He describes the evil spirit who boasts, “I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets” (1 Kings 22:22). And this lying spirit told King Ahab exactly what he wanted to hear.

Second, “Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.” Even though we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit in the reception of the sacraments, we must be conscious that this sealing was not an act of magic. The maintenance of this seal is to be jealously and fervently defended. Even when we are sealed by the Spirit in the sacraments, we explicitly pray that God will protect that seal until our life’s end. The Holy Spirit’s guarantee is from God’s side, not from ours. This prayer reminds us each day of the danger of God’s casting us away from His face and taking His Holy Spirit from us.

I We look at Saul, whom Samuel anointed in the Holy Spirit—Saul, on whom the Holy Spirit poured out the gift of prophecy. Saul did not lose that Holy Spirit in a single moment. His downfall came, rather, at the end of a string of infidelities. This brave young man, who heard the messenger of Jabesh Gilead and rushed to their rescue, gradually deteriorated into the craven old man who consulted a witch on the night before the battle of Mount Gilboah. Humble Saul, who confessed himself to be the least in his father’s house, by degrees waxed into the arrogant man scorned by Samuel and rejected by God. If we want to know what happens to a man of impure heart, from whom the Lord withdraws the guidance of the Holy Spirit, there is no need to look further than the sad career of King Saul.

Third, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and strengthen me with thy governing spirit.” If the second prayer fills us with a healthy measure of godly fear, this third line strengthens us with the hope of godly restoration. The Spirit we pray for is the Spirit of our salvation and the joy with which this salvation fills the pure of heart.

The Spirit for whom we pray is what our psalm calls God’s “governing Spirit” (Pnevma hegemonikon). This is the Spirit that leads. But the Spirit leads only the pure in heart. St. Paul makes this doctrine clear in the eighth chapter of Romans (8:5-9,13-14):

. . . they that are of the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are of the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. . . . For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Monday, June 5

Psalm 44 (Greek and Latin 43): Second Chronicles 20:1–19 describes a special liturgical service at the Jerusalem temple, in which King Jehoshaphat (873–849) led the people in a prayer of lamentation and intercession during a time of great crisis. He also proclaimed a period of fasting, for the plight of the people seemed desperate; their enemies were upon them, and “Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord” (20:4).

There were many such occasions in biblical times, and many more since then, for the enemies of God’s people are both numerous (“My name is Legion; for we are many,” Mark 5:9) and powerful (“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places,” Eph. 6:12). Indeed, we are continually at war, we children of God, and we sometimes feel simply overwhelmed, almost empty of hope.

This psalm was obviously written for such times: “You have given us as sheep to the slaughter and scattered us among the nations. You have bartered Your people for a pittance and made no profit on the sale.” A useful prayer, this psalm of despondency, because the life of faith is not a sustained, uninterrupted series of triumphs.

The prayer begins, however, with an appeal to Tradition: “We have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us.” Such an appeal to the lessons of history is, of course, standard in the Bible, for the biblical God is, first and last, “the God of our fathers.” Thus, the message of Genesis has to do with God’s fidelity to Israel’s patriarchs, while Exodus tells of Israel’s redemption by that same patriarchal God. Other historical books of the Bible narrate the continued faithfulness of His promises to an unfaithful people. The prophetic literature, likewise, constantly looks back to God’s redemptive work throughout Israel’s history, as both paradigm and prophecy of what He will do for His people in the future.

A similar note is sounded strongly in the Wisdom literature of the Bible. The Book of Proverbs, for instance, is forever appealing to the moral lessons of history, that complex of disciplines and standards learned by experience, prescribed by the authority of Tradition and handed down through succeeding generations. In this case too, biblical religion is essentially an inherited religion, and its Lord is “the God of our fathers.”

Tradition is also the note on which our psalm begins, then, almost its entire first half being taken up with a review of past experience. But God is not only the God of the patriarchs in the past; He is also our own God, one and the same: “You are my king and my God, You who command victories for Jacob.”

Then suddenly the psalm’s tone changes, for the reassuring lessons from the past are now being put sternly to the test: “But You have cast us off and put us to shame. You no longer march forth with our armies; You have turned us back from the foe, and our enemies plunder us at will.”

The situation here may be likened to that of Job. He too had ever endeavored to be pleasing to the God of the fathers, steadfastly following the high moral precepts handed down from authorities of old. If one reads carefully what is said of Job in the first chapter of the book that bears his name, it is clear that he is a perfect embodiment of the traditional prescriptive norms treated in Proverbs and Israel’s other wisdom literature.

Thus, when Job is undeservedly afflicted, his sentiments are very much what we find here in our psalm—shock, surprise, and disappointment. He complains to God, very much as this psalm complains: “You have made us the taunt of our neighbors, a derision and scorn to those about us.” Such is the prayer of those who, like Job, feel overwhelmed by the sense that, in spite of His salvific deeds in the past and His promises for the future, God has simply forgotten. There are days when, if we are believers at all, we can only be described as “men of little faith.”
This psalm is the prayer of an individual, or a people, being sorely tried with respect to faith. Were it not for such experiences of being abandoned by God, there would be no test for the important proposition that the just man lives by faith. Whatever the trial (and its possible forms are manifold), it is finally the voice of faith—albeit, little faith—that prevails in this psalm. We pray to the Lord with those other men that our Lord describes as “of little faith,” the frightened disciples on the stormy lake: “Awake! Why do You sleep, O Lord? Rise up, and do not cast us off forever. . . . Arise and come to our help; deliver us for the sake of Your name.”

From Romans 8:35, 36 we know how the Apostle Paul prayed this psalm, seeing in its lament a reflection of the sufferings in his own soul by reason of his fidelity to Christ: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: /‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; / We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’“

Tuesday, June 6

Acts 3:1-10: Peter and John go up to the temple “at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.” This was late afternoon, the time of the daily evening sacrifice for devout Jews and proselytes (cf. 10:3). As we see in Tertullian and Hippolytus at the beginning of the third century, this hour of prayer was also maintained by Christians, as is the canonical rule unto the present day. In the Christian practice, of course, the “evening sacrifice” is the death of Jesus on the Cross, which also took place at this very hour (cf. Mark 15:34-37). Peter heals the lame man in the powerful name of Jesus (cf. 2:21,38-39; 3:16; 4:7-10), of which we will soon be told that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (4:12).

The healed man immediately enters the temple with the two apostles, making quite a scene by his enthusiastic worship. The fairly secular word “amazement” in verse 10 is actually “ecstasy” in Greek, which is a term descriptive of religious experience. The “porch” of Solomon in verse 11 is stoa in Greek, from which was derived the name of philosophers called “Stoics” (cf. 17:18), so named because they studied under Zeno at the Poecile, a colonnaded porch in Athens. As the Fathers of the Church observed in this connection, Luke is thus contrasting the Solomonic wisdom of the Bible with the pagan wisdom of the Hellenic philosophers. Peter will now preach wisdom from that “porch of Solomon.”

Leviticus 1: Because the English noun “sacrifice” is commonly employed to translate several quite different Hebrew words, readers of the Bible in English may not suspect how varied and complex is the Bible’s treatment of this subject.

For instance, the sacrifice treated here in the first chapter is quite distinct. One would not suspect just how distinct from its common English translation (King James, for example), “burnt sacrifice.” Since just about all sacrifices in the Bible, with the obvious exception of libations, were burnt, the expression does not tell us very much.

The Hebrew word employed for the sacrifices in this chapter is ‘olah, a participle meaning “ascending.” This term may originally have been connected with the ascending smoke released by the fire that consumed the victim. In the ancient Greek translation (the Septuagint), this term was rendered holokavtoma, which indicated that the whole victim, not just part of it, was consumed in the fire. This Greek word became the Latin holocaustum, whence is derived our English “holocaust.” Because it consumed the entire victim, the holocaust—the sacrifice envisaged in this opening chapter of Leviticus—was the most complete form of sacrifice.

The six steps involved in such a sacrifice are described in verses 3-9, which treat of a bovine sacrifice. Nearly identical steps were followed for the holocaust of sheep (verses 1-13) and birds (verses 14-17).

It is clear that a holocaust always involves the sacrifice of a living animal, not grain or any other form. Those other sacrifices are treated in the next chapter.

Wednesday, June 7

Acts 3:11-26: The philosophy imagery continues. The “walk” in verse 12 is literally “walk around,” in Greek peripatein, the root of “Peripatetic,” meaning the philosophy of Aristotle, who “walked around” the Lyceum at Athens discussing thorny questions with his students. Thus, Luke presents us with a Peripatetic on the Stoa!

Now Peter, like a good philosopher, sets himself to clear up a misunderstanding (verse 12). Relating his remarks immediately to the theme of his Pentecost sermon, the glorification of Jesus, Peter summarizes the Lord’s trial (verses 13-15) in a way that reflects Luke’s narrative of that trial (cf. Luke 23:4,14,16,20,22).

In verse 22, where Peter quotes Deuteronomy, the context provides a subtle word-play in “the Lord God will raise up (anastesei) for you a Prophet.” This “raising up” of Jesus (cf. verse 26 too) is, of course, the unifying theme of these first two sermons of Peter.

After his citation from Moses, he goes on to announce that “all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow,” had borne witness to the very message that he was preaching. This note again fits Luke’s motif of biblical fulfillment in the death and resurrection of Jesus (cf. Luke 24:27,45), a motif that had so dominated Peter’s sermon on Pentecost.

He finishes by quoting Genesis 22:18, clearly understanding the “seed” (sperma) of Abraham as referring to Jesus (as does Paul in Galatians 3:16).

Leviticus 2: The sacrifice treated in this chapter is the minhah, or grain offering. In this sacrifice, only part of the grain was burned, the remainder being reserved for the household of the priest (verse 2). In addition, the grain could be baked into bread (verses 4-13).

In these latter cases, it was important not to use yeast in the baking process, probably because yeast produces fermentation, which was considered a form of corruption. There was the perceived need to remove all suggestion of corruption from the sacrifice offered to God. Salt, on the other hand, because it is a preservative, was a normal part of this form of sacrifice. Indeed, this aspect of salt rendered it an excellent symbol of the permanence and incorruptibility of God’s covenant with Israel. It was, in truth, a “covenant of salt” (Numbers 18:19). Holy Scripture contains a number of references to this symbolic value of salt (cf. Ezekiel 16:4; 2 Kings 2:20-22; Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:49; Colossians 4:6).

Thursday, June 8

Acts 4:1-12: We now come to the first arrest of Christians and their first trial before the Sanhedrin. There was surely reason for concern on the part of the Sanhedrin, because the number of Christian converts, as a result of Peter’s brief sermon, had grown dramatically (verse 4). There will ensue a mounting local persecution, leading to the dispersal of the believers at the beginning of Chapter 8.

The Sadducees, direct successors of those “sons of Zadok” that we read about in Ezekiel, are the first to be offended (verses 2,3,5,6; cf. also 5:17). Unlike the Pharisees, they did not believe in a doctrine of resurrection, so when the apostles are brought to trial, the Sadducees were careful not to mention why they had been arrested! The whole affair having begun, as we saw, in late afternoon, it is now too late for court business, so the apostles are thrown in jail for the night (verse3).

The chief leaders of the Sadducees, the priests Annas and Caiphas, had been the instigators of the trial of Jesus, and now two of His apostles will appear before the same group. As on Pentecost day, Peter is “full of the Holy Spirit” (verse 8), and his brief testimony, which includes the exegesis of a Psalm verse (cf. Luke 20:17 as well), summarizes his Pentecost sermon. It was also a Psalm verse, by the way, to which Peter would return several years later (cf. 1 Peter 2:7).

Leviticus 3: What most English translations of the Bible call the “peace offering” is, in the Hebrew text, known as the zebah shelamim, a term indicating an oblation which harmonizes or makes perfect. It is an offering in which there is some sort of communion through the shared eating of part of the victim. Hence, unlike the holocaust, the entire victim in this kind of sacrifice is not destroyed by fire; parts of it are eaten by the priests who offer it and by those individuals for whom it is offered.

The sacrificial victims offered in this sort of oblation were the ox, the sheep, and the goat; animals of both sexes were acceptable. The sacrifice of the ox is described in verses 1-5, in which special attention is given to the animal’s blood. Because blood especially symbolizes life, it could not be ingested. It had to be sprinkled on the altar, as a sign that all life belongs to God. Similarly, those internal organs more especially associated with the processes of life, such as the intestines, the liver, and the kidneys, were burned in the sacrificial fire. Much the same procedure was followed for the offering of the sheep (verses 6-11) and the goat (verses 12-17).

For reasons that are not clear, the fat of these sacrifices could not be eaten, though there are no proscriptions against eating fat outside of the sacrificial context.

Friday, June 9

Leviticus 4: The “sin offering” of this chapter is an expiatory sacrifice that could be made for the priest (verses 1-12), the whole congregation (verses 13-21), the leader (verses 22-26), or any individual who might need it (verse 27 to 5:23).

The Hebrew name for this sacrifice, ’attata’t, literally means “sin,” but the meaning is extended to include the consequences of sin and, hence, the sacrifice offered to expiate sin (this noun, in the priestly code, always meaning offenses against God), and thus signifying even the victim offered in that sacrifice. Here in Leviticus the normal meaning of ’attata’t is “sin offering.”

With the term understood in this specific way and special sense, we can see that when the Apostle Paul said that God made Jesus “sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21), he meant that Jesus became the victim of that expiatory sacrifice by which atonement was made for our sins. Jesus Himself became the ’attata’t, the “sin offering,” fulfilling the prophetic dimension of the sacrifices with which this chapter deals.

Here in Leviticus the verb used to “make” this sin offering is ‘asah (three times in verses 8-9), which is a normal verb connoting the performance of many sacrifices (cf. 5:10; 6:15; 8:34; 9:7,16,22; 14:19; 15:15,30; 16:9,15,24; 19:9; 22:23; 23:12,19). In the Greek text of the Septuagint this ‘asah is translated as poiein. This is the verb used by St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:21, where he says that God “made [Jesus] a sin offering” (hamartian epoiesen).

It should be further noted that these particular sacrifices, although expiatory, are not substitutionary (in contrast to the sacrifice of the Paschal lamb, which was substitutionary but not expiatory). The Bible invariably distinguishes between substitutionary and expiatory sacrifices. It is a fact that the Old Testament system of sacrifice prescribed no substitutionary mactation of a sacrificial victim to atone for a sin that deserved death. That is to say, in the sacrificial system of the Bible, no animal is ever sacrificed to atone for the sin of someone who, because of that sin, deserved to die.

With respect to the death of Jesus on the Cross, we say that He died to atone our sins. In this regard His death was an expiatory sacrifice. When we speak of His death, however, as a substitutionary sacrifice, we indicate that He acted as the true Paschal Lamb, of which those earlier lambs were but symbols and types. Thus, the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross was both expiatory and substitutionary; He fulfilled both of these sacrificial types, each in a way proper to itself. The death of this “Lamb of God” did what the substitutionary sacrifice of the ancient Paschal lambs was never intended to do — namely, take away the sins of the world.

Thus, Jesus fulfilled all of these ancient sacrifices of the Old Testament: the ‘olah, or holocaust (Chapter 1), by being a complete sacrifice; the minhah, or grain sacrifice (Chapter 2), by granting us, in the breaking of the Bread, to “proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26); the zebah shelamim, or “peace offering” (Chapter 3), by sharing with us his own communion with God; and the ’attata’t, or sin offering (the present chapter), by taking away the barrier that human sins created between God and the human race.

The sprinkling (hizzah) of the blood purifies the curtain (paroketh that covers the Holy of Holies (verses 6,17). This verb, (hizzah), is also used in Isaiah 52:15 with reference to the Suffering Servant: “So shall He sprinkle many nations,” meaning that the blood of the Servant cleanses the sins of the nations.