“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received and wherein ye stand; by which ye are saved if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless your faith is in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.”
The beginning of this section starts as a continuation of that which has been set forth and is built upon those truths. The church at Corinth had so many problems that had at their root a lack of understanding about the love of the brethren. Paul upbraids them for divisions and strifes that ought not to be in the pastures of the Lord. Their liberality and selfishness became more evident in the abusive observance of the table and they became puffed up in the demonstrations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But he reminds them that edification and the welfare of others is paramount to the harmony of the flock. In continuation of this he says that the gospel that he presented to them, which they believed by the Holy ghost and wherein they were established firm and sure, was not a ‘cunningly devised fable’; it was not received from the traditions or teachings of man and it came not from the commentaries or ‘oral tradition’ of the fathers. This was the word which he received when he confer not with flesh and blood. He did not go to Jerusalem for indoctrination. He did not seek the approval of the counsel or a private session with Peter, James or John and he did not float a public opinion poll to see what would work to make his ministry successful. He was sent to the wilderness where the Spirit of God delivered unto him by revelation, the truth of the ‘glad tidings of great joy’. This gospel was established by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost as He spoke to Holy men of old and was passed down from generation to generation in what was known as the scriptures. In these writings “beginning at Moses and all the prophets” is contained all things pertaining to the fact that we are sinners in need of deliverance and that we cannot do this for ourselves. From the beginning God set forth that He would provide Himself a sacrifice that would satisfy His Holy Law, complete the work given unto Him without error and save His people from their sins. According to the scriptures this Anointed who, “thought it not robbery to be equal with God” would assume the position of a servant and be made complete in all that He endured. He would experience all the passions, pains, trials and temptations that each of His people have ever had in their earthen vessels and He would endure such contradiction of sin against Himself so that they would have an High Priest who could be touched with the feelings of their infirmities.
This High priest, as represented by Aaron, would lay aside His garments and wash himself in the water of the laver and put on the holy garments which represented the righteousness of the Anointed. He would then begin with a sacrifice for himself of a bullock and a ram which he would slaughter, pour out the blood and then sprinkle the blood seven times upon the mercy seat and then seven times more before the mercy seat. Then he would take the goat upon whom the lot of the Lord was cast and sacrifice it at the door of the tabernacle and do the same as he did with the other blood. This covering was needed before the sin of the people could be removed by imputation upon the other goat and while the High Priest was performing this ceremony, “There shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation”.
Now when he emerged from the offering of the sacrifices. Aaron was covered with blood himself. All his white linen garments were stained with the blood of the sheepfold (Bozrah, Is. 63). His obedience to the law had covered him with the blood as a reminder that he did it because the people were guilty of failing to measure up to the standard of perfection that God demands and all his works of righteousness were now evident in the filthy (bloody) rags. Then, after the blood was shed, it was time to recite all the sins of the people, imputing them unto the scapegoat and removing them into the uninhabited land. Everything had to be done in the proper manner, in the exact order and in the fullness of time, the tenth day (the day of the remnant) of the seventh month (the completed work) (Lev. 23:27).
But the Anointed of God is not of the house of Adam nor of the house of Levi or Aaron. He is not a priest after the order of man and the ceremony of weak and beggarly elements. He is a priest of God after the never ending order of Melchizedek, ‘my righteous King’. Herein we see that the Kingship and Priesthood are one and eternal and that He did not become a priest of God anymore than He became the righteous King. He has always been Josiah the High Priest and the counsel of the peace of God is now and ever has been between the King of glory and Josiah (Zech. 6:13). He is the Servant, the Elect of God and the Branch and when He went into that tabernacle not made with hands, that is to say not of this creation, NO MAN was there with Him. Because He was without sin and had completely fulfilled the law and all that the prophets had written concerning Himself, He offered once, in the end of the world, a perfect sacrifice for the sin of His people, His own blood. He stood ‘glorious in His apparel’ before the throne of the mercy seat of God, being the second Adam and having His Bride in Him, and when the Father saw the travail of His soul and the blood He was well pleased.
Notice how Paul does not use an editorial phrase when he speaks of the death of Messiah. He says, “Christ died for OUR sins”. Once again the unity of the brethren is called to the forefront. The love and regard of the household is because of the common salvation of the flock. We love Him because He first loved us and we love each other because of the like precious faith of the same Spirit within. He came for His people not to find a people. He came to redeem them that were under the law not make redemption possible and He came to save His people from their sins by making an atonement, providing a propitiation and consecrating them unto Himself. They did not come to Him or choose Him and He did not offer Himself to them for acceptance but rather He delivered them from the wrath of God and covered them with His blood.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
April 17, 2011