The Perfect Sacrifice
The various sacrifices are all connected with the altar. Even that which was “burnt without the camp” was connected with the altar. It was no doubt carried forth without the camp and burnt with fire (Lev. 6:30, 16:27); but “the blood was brought into the tabernacle of the congregation, to reconcile withal in the holy place.” “The blood of the bullock was brought in, to make atonement in the holy place.” Their connection with the altar is sufficient of itself to show the truth of substitution contained in them, for the altar was the place of transference. But in each of them we find something which expresses this more directly and fully.
In the burnt offering we see the perfection of the substitute presented in the place of our imperfection, in not loving God with all our heart.
In the meat offering we have the perfection of the substitute, as that on which, when laid upon the alter, God feeds, and on which he invites us to feed.
In the peace offering we find the perfection of the substitute laid on the same altar as an atonement, reconciling us to God; removing the distance and the enmity, and providing food for us out of that which had passed through death; for “he is our peace.”
In the sin offering we see the perfection of the substitute whose blood is sprinkled on the altar and whose body is burnt without, as securing pardon for unconscious sins–sins of ignorance.
In the trespass offering there is the same perfection of the substitute in his atoning character procuring forgiveness for conscious and wilful sin.
In the drink offering we have the perfection of the substitute poured out on the altar as that by which God is refreshed and by which we are also refreshed. “His blood is drink indeed.”
in the incense offering we have the “sweet savor” of the substitute going up to God in our behalf; the cloud of fragrance from his life and death with which God is well pleased, enveloping us and making us fragrant with a fragrance not our own; absorbing all in us that is displeasing or hateful and replacing it with sweetness altogether perfect and divine.
In the fire we see the holy wrath of the Judge consuming the victim slain in the place of the sinner. In the ashes we have the proof that the wrath had been spent itself, that the penalty was paid, that the work was done. “It is finished,” was the voice of the ashes on the altar.
In all this we see such things as the following: (1) God’s displeasure against sin; (2) that displeasure exhausted in a righteous way; (3) the substitute presented and accepted; (4) the substitute slain and consumed; (5) the transference of the wrath from the sinner to his representative; (6) God resting in his live over the sinner and viewing him in the perfection of his substitute; (7) the sinner reconciled, accepted, complete, enjoying God’s favor, and feeding at his table on that on which God had fed; on that which had come from the altar and had passed through the fire.
For that which satisfies the holiness of God cannot but satisfy the conscience of the sinner. God, pointing to the altar, says, “That is enough for me”; the sinner responds and says, “It is enough for me.”
~ Horatius Bonar’s, The Everlasting Righteousness, pp. 10-12.