"FOR THIS HE DID ONCE"
"Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up
sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's;
for this he did once, when he offered up himself."--Heb. 7:27.
IN studying the Book of Hebrews it is well to keep in memory that the Apostle's thought was not to give a detailed explanation of the types of the Law, but merely to prove to the Jews that they should look beyond the high priests and the under-priests of the Aaronic order for a greater Higher Priest of our profession (order) and a superior under-priesthood, "a royal priesthood." In the text above quoted St. Paul is drawing attention to the fact that a repetition daily and yearly of the sacrifices of the Law on a higher plane is not to be expected, but rather that the One Priest (Christ, Head and Body,) in the one antitypical Atonement Day accomplishes the entire work which will usher in full forgiveness and reconciliation to all the people. This in type was done in the one [R4397 : page 154] Atonement Day and the antitype of that Atonement Day is not yet ended. It will close with the end of this Gospel Age. It will close when the last member of the Body of Christ shall have suffered with the Lord, "Filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ."-- Col. 1:24.
The first offering of the Day of Atonement was the bullock, which typified the man Jesus. It was because of this offering and by the act of consecration that our Lord became the Anointed One--"the High Priest of our profession." As the spirit-begotten High Priest our Lord for three and a half years offered up himself, his manhood, in sacrifice. He finished that offering, typified by the bullock, at his death. Then, as shown in the type, he took the blood of the bullock and proceeded into the Most Holy, "there to appear in the presence of God for us"-- the "household of faith."
In the type the typical high priest, after offering the first sacrifice and after applying its blood on behalf of the body (the under-priest) and his house (the tribe of Levi), laid his hands on the Lord's goat and slew it and did with it as with the bullock, except that its blood when taken into the Most Holy was differently applied--on behalf of the other eleven tribes, who represented all nations, peoples, kindreds and tongues of humanity.
These two offerings and their distinctly separate sprinklings of blood were both parts of the one Atonement Day service--"this he did once." Two deaths are clearly shown and two blood sprinklings; and on behalf of two different classes; but they were parts of the one sin atonement. Just so our Lord, during his earthly ministry, was dying daily, yet it was one sacrifice; so also when we fill up a share of his sufferings, dying daily, it is part of his sufferings and sacrifice, which he is still accomplishing in us once for all--this he does once and will never repeat. All sacrificing of this sort will end with this age--he will accept no further members of the Body of Christ, no additional members to "the royal priesthood."
As we have repeatedly shown, the first Atonement Day sacrifice was our Lord's sacrifice of his own flesh, the man Jesus, and the second sacrifice was that of his adopted members--those justified by his blood and consecrated to his service even unto death. These accepted by the Lord are sacrificed by him as parts or members of himself; and their blood (death) is counted in as a part of the blood of Christ--"dead with him." This is the "Mystery" hidden from previous ages and generations. The "fellowship of this Mystery" was granted to the Jews and Gentiles of the "little flock" of the called and chosen and faithful.
Our Lord as the High Priest laid his hand upon the "Lord's goat" at Pentecost. His power (hand) there came upon his followers accepting their consecration and bringing to them the trying experiences as his members which faithfully endured will, according to the Divine plan, grant them a share with him in his divine [R4398 : page 154] nature and Kingdom. It is not the suffering of the Church that counts, but the sufferings of Christ. It is because we are counted in as members of Christ, "members in particular of the Body of Christ," that we are permitted to be his members on the spirit plane and to share the glories and honors of our Head. "If we suffer with him, we shall reign with him." "If we be dead with him we shall live with him."
Thus the sufferings of Christ, while in the one sense of the word ended at Calvary, in another sense of the word continue in his members; this is a "Mystery" to many. The sufferings of Christ are still in process and his faithful ones are still filling them up. St. Peter tells us that the prophets of old spake of the sufferings of Christ and of the glories that should follow. The sufferings of Christ Jesus were followed by his personal glorification, demonstration of which was given at Pentecost; but the glory mentioned in this text has not yet been accomplished. It awaits the completion of the sufferings of Christ--the sufferings of the members: "For if one member suffer, all the members suffer with it." (1 Cor. 12:26.) "When he shall appear in glory, we shall appear with him." We shall be glorified together if we suffer with him as his members.
With the Jews there was a Day of Atonement every year, with its sacrifices repeated year by year continually. But with Christ there is but one antitypical Atonement Day and when its "better sacrifices" shall have been accomplished --when the great antitypical High Priest shall have finished the work of offering up himself, including his members, thereafter there will be no more sufferings of Christ for anybody to fill up. The glory of the Millennial Kingdom will then be ushered in. The sins of the whole world will be blotted out so far as God is concerned and the High Priest of our profession will be a Priest upon his throne (Head and members) after the order of Melchisedec.