Jewish Anticipation of the Cross Part 2 -- By: Philip W. Grossman

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 106:423 (Jul 1949)
Article: Jewish Anticipation of the Cross Part 2
Author: Philip W. Grossman

Jewish Anticipation of the Cross
Part 2

Philip W. Grossman

(Concluded from the April-June Number, 1949)

{Editor’s note: Footnotes in the original printed edition were numbered 13, then 1–8, but in this electronic edition are numbered 1–9 respectively.}

The Negative Position in the Old Testament

3. Priests

It is difficult to understand how any Bible student can conclude that the Levitical priests, at least at the close of the Old Testament period, understood that their offerings in the temple were “a figure for the time then present” of that which was to take place later when Christ would offer Himself once and for all. It ought to be sufficient—in order to defeat such a conclusion—to point out that, in spite of the crucifixion and in spite of the fact that God rent the veil of the temple on that eventful day, thus signifying that the way into the Holy of Holies was no longer limited to the priest with his annual offering, the temple worship was nevertheless persisted in by the Jews on into the period following Christ’s death. As far as the priests of the earlier days are concerned, they also knew relatively little about the terms of salvation. It cannot be emphasized too strongly that “the law of animal sacrifices,” in the words of Dr. Chafer, “was the divinely appointed means for a Jew in the Old Testament—one who was already in a covenant relation with God—to be restored to a fellowship which had been broken by sin.” In other words, these ceremonial sacrifices performed by the priests teach what we may call restoration truth, not salvation truth. Just as 1 John 1:9 does not teach salvation but tells how a saved person, a Christian whose fellowship with God has been interrupted by sin, may have that fellowship restored by confessing, so also the Jew who was one of God’s own could be brought back to the place

of fellowship, after he had wandered away, and that by bringing the appropriate sacrifice. Thus, while we can see today that the blood of bulls and goats was a figure of the blood of Jesus Christ which is able to “cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” the ministries of the priests had a present purpose for the Jew other than that of serving as a figure of the saving work of Christ. When God gave the law and when Moses explained the sacrifices, not a word was said about that of which they were a type, but rather they were set forth simply as the divinely appointed way of tabernacle service and worship. The Jew would need no further explanation in order for it to be reasonable other than that it was God’s way for him.

Assuming for the moment that the prie...

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