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1 And Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying,
Moses records the re-introduction of Offerings...
2 Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, and My bread for My sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet savour unto Me, shall ye observe to offer unto me in their due season.
Why should instruction on sacrificial offerings be included in this section of the book, having recorded some of the probational incidents?
Like the rite of circumcision (Josh. 5:5), it seems that many of the daily and yearly offerings were omitted during the desert sojourn. This is indicated in the fact that there was a need for a "second circumcision" when the nation reached the borders of the Land, suggesting that such ceremonies were ignored after the generation of Moses was condemned to perish in the wilderness.
In addition, the offerings of firstfruits (Num. 28:26), tabernacles (Lev. 23:39), etc., were governed by the harvest, which was inappropriate in the desert. Thus the need to re-instruction as a preparation to entering the Land. The sacrifices were called Yahweh's "bread" (Num. 28:2), since they were consumed by fire, becoming known as "His food" (Lev. 3:11).
...All these sacrifices are to be introduced in a new form in the glorious offerings of the Great Temple, to be established by the Prince (Eze. 40-48). Thus our personal sacrifices today, are based on the program of the past, and form a preparation for the future. Worship is an essential part of man's relationship to Yahweh.
The laws of worship to Israel were so elaborate as to appear confusing. One lesson stood out: there is appropriate worship to every time and place. The offering of a consecrated life is always in season, at all times, every day, week, year.
3 And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto Yahweh ; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering.
4 The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even;
5 And a tenth part of an ephah of flour for a meat offering, mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil.
The Meal offering
Meat--that is, bread--(for it is a modern association that identifies "meat" with the article only that is supplied by the butcher; no vegetarianism intended)--meat is for strength; wine for gladness (Psa. 104:15).
What can be the meaning of their addition to the lamb of the daily sacrifice, but this, that the service of God is not all humiliation and sorrow and solemnity? Israel were early taught the joyful side of their relation with God. On the further side of the Red Sea, on the morrow after their thrilling deliverance from Egyptian pursuit, they sang under the leadership of Moses,
"The Lord is my strength and song' and he is become my salvation",
The Psalms of David are divine exemplification of the class of sentiment that is appropriate to the divine relationship in the present evil state. True, there is much shadow in them, it is not possible in human language to express deeper sorrow than some of them reflect. But there is more light than darkness: more joy and jubilance than lamentation. Most of them are in this vein:
"0 clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph . . . Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands; sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious . . . Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise to the God of Jacob. Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery .... With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together."
Joy belongs to faith in God and knowledge of His purposes and His way. There is no true joy apart from it. It means the full activity of the highest faculties of man--which cannot be realized in connection with any other exercise of the human mind. Science or sport brings only a part of the human brain into action; godliness--(of the enlightened sort--and there is no other true sort, for the godliness of darkened sectarianism is no more true godliness than sewer gas is fresh air)--godliness brings the whole brain into action, and therefore kindles noble joy.
"Thou hast put gladness into my heart more than when their corn and wine are increased."
It was appropriate therefore that a meat offering and strong wine should always accompany the sacrificial lamb, morning and evening.
That these three things--the light of knowledge, the incense of prayer, and the sacrificial condemnation of sin--should be the subjects of the daily service of the tabernacle, is an illustration not to be mistaken as to the places which these things should have in the lives of His people.
They condemn the loose thoughts of moralists, who would relegate all three to the region of uncertainty and neglect. They condemn no less the fraternal Laodiceanism that can only be roused by polemics, and who regard the daily worship of God as a weariness.
They show us the sort of people whom God approves, and they throw the right light upon the various kinds of worldliness that are unfit for the service of the true sanctuary.
"The Lord hath chosen the man that is godly for himself ":
and these institutions of the Lord's house admit us to the divine estimate of the man that is godly. Many men in the truth have a name to live and are dead: the chill of their spiritual corpses is liable to infect living saints with a sense of shiver, who have to keep close to the fire to drive the cold away.
Law of Moses Ch 28.
7 And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto Yahweh for a drink offering.
The basic requirement of the symbolism of the Sanctuary was righteousness. That was unequivocally intimated by the fact that the Sanctuary was separated from the world around by a screen of fine twined linen. All about were the dark tents of Israel: against them the white screen stood out in significant contrast, the very emblem of moral spotlessness. In so far as the Court represented the people busy in God's service the screen was therefore a challenge to them to be spotlessly white in character and conduct to fit them for the stupendous responsibility of having God in their midst. It is in keeping with this fact that the Court was sometimes called "the holy (place)" (Lev. 6: 16; 10: 18; cf. Num, 28 : 7).
Law and Grace Ch 5
9 And on the sabbath day 2 lambs of the 1st year without spot, and 2 tenth deals of flour for a meal offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof:
The sabbath day.
So the seventh thousand years, though an age of rest or Sabbath-keeping, will be a day of special activity in the service of God through all the earth, in the ways appointed, with Jerusalem and the temple as the centre of the rushing currents of national life.
Commerce will no longer be the be-all and end-all of national enterprise.
"Many nations shall go and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths"
Law of Moses Ch 28.
Thus each Sabbath was likewise but the epitome of the entire year, and its standard ritual a permanent object lesson and reminder to Israel of the obligations of its standing as "a holy nation" before God. Upon it the people were to assemble (that would seem to be the implication of "holy convocation") to remind themselves, and each other, of God's doings and purposes with them. It was meant to be a joyous day to them, commemorative of their joy when they sang the Song of Moses after the crossing of the Red Sea, chanting,
"Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation" (Exod. 15: 13).
Like that Song it took account of both the present and the future, of the rest of today and of that Rest which is to come, compressing into itself the lessons of both the Holy and Most Holy Place. But this it did only for those who accounted it "a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable", and who by their observance of it were constrained to rest from their own sinful works in order the better to serve God in true holiness (Isa. 58 : 13)·
Law and Grace Ch 10
On the seventh day, which was neither longer nor shorter than the days which preceded it, "God ended His work which he had made;" and because of this notable event, "He blessed and sanctified it." A day is blessed, because of what is or will be imparted to those who are commanded to observe it. The sanctification of the day implies the setting of it apart that it might be kept in some way different from other days. The manner of its original observance may be inferred from the law concerning it when it was enjoined upon the Israelites. To them it was said,
"remember the sabbath day to keep it holy."
If it be asked, how was it to be kept holy? the answer is,
"in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor any one or thing belonging to thee; "
and the reason for this total abstinence from work is referred to the Lord's own example in that "He rested the seventh day." The nature of its observance in the ages and generations, and the recompense thereof, is well expressed in the words of Isaiah; --
"if thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath from doing thy pleasure, on My holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honour Him not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it" (Isaiah 58:13, 14).
In this passage the conditions are stated upon which faithful Israelites might inherit the blessing typified by the rest of the seventh day. They were joyfully to devote themselves, to the way of the Lord. They were not simply to abstain from work, yawning and grumbling over the tediousness of the day, and wishing it were gone, that they might return to their ordinary course of life; but they were to esteem it as a delightful, holy, and honorable day.
Their pleasure was to consist in doing what the Lord required, and in talking of "the exceeding great and precious promises" he had made. To do this was "not speaking their own words," but the Lord's words. Such an observance as this, however, of the Sabbath day, implies a faithful mind and a gracious disposition as the result of knowing the truth.
Neither antediluvian nor postdiluvian could "call the sabbath a delight," who was either ignorant or faithless of the import of the promise
"thou shalt delight thyself in the Lord, and ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed with the heritage of Jacob."
(continue on daily post)
Elpis Israel Ch 2
10 This is the burnt offering of every sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.
That was to be the one constant, indispensable offering which God required of His People, in intimation of that constancy and fidelity of service which He expected of them axiomatically.
This continual offering, being a Burnt Offering, signified that the nation, conscious of having received atonement for its sin, wished to devote itself and its labours (these being symbolized by the Meal and Drink Offering) utterly to God. Not a day was to pass without such a ritual confession by the nation in this representative way of the character of its fundamental duty as God's Covenant People.
"The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out" , was the rule for the day (Lev. 6 : 13); and likewise also for the night - "It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning" (Lev. 6 : 9).
By this symbolic means each day was shown to be, ideally, not something separate and distinct in itself, but only one brief stage in a continuous process of spiritual activity before God and of service to Him. The double nature of the offering served to emphasize that lesson for each individual in the nation by showing him that his life was meant to begin and end in God who had delivered him from sin's bondage.
The evening oblation, inasmuch as it came at the close of the day, spoke symbolically of a day's work done (and so, by extension, of a whole life lived) as to God - of a duty accomplished, of an ideal attained. As such it was to some extent more significant allegorically than that of the morning, which may explain why the Psalmist besought God,
"Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice" (Psalm 141 : 2).*
Apart from this distinction, however, the evening and morning oblation both served the same essential purpose, and spoke equally of constancy in self-devotion and in service to God.
*Prayer, we note, is here equated with both Incense and Burnt Offering.
11 And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto Yahweh; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot;
At the beginnings of your months", there was to be a special service of a gladsome character
"Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob" (Psa. 81:3-4). On that day, the first day of the month--marked and dated by the advent of the new moon--there was to be a large addition to the daily sacrifice. There were to be seven lambs, two young bullocks, and one ram, besides the daily lamb of the morning and evening; and these additional burnt offerings were to be accompanied by proportional meat offerings and wine offerings in the quantities specified, in addition to which, there was to be an offering of one kid of the goats for a sin offering.
This was a more casual, yet a larger, form of special service than the Sabbath or the daily: once in thirty days as compared with once in seven days or twice in one day. Its occasion was the completion of a larger cycle of the divine beneficence to man. It takes the moon about thirty days to perform her circuit round the earth. All the benefits she confers in that circuit, we cannot know. Some of them we know.
She prevents stagnation in the waters of the earth by causing their rise and fall and so giving us the tides. She mitigates the darkness of night, and even imparts to it a silvery beauty, which is often more acceptable than the glory of the day. She exercises subtle magnetic influences on the condition of earth's inhabitants which we cannot estimate. She gives us a standard of time measurement which is of greater value than familiarity allows us to appreciate.
That the periodicity of such an ordinance in nature should be chosen as the occasion of a special recognition of man's relation to God, is significant. It shows that God finds pleasure in our appreciation of His works. It shows that He disapproves of the indifference that takes them all as a matter of course. There is a liability in men to do this. Accustomed to the automatic operations of the laws of nature, they are liable to become insensible to the eternal power and wisdom in which they have their root. In a sense, the motions of nature are a matter of course.
They are established and cannot be interfered with: yet they are not reasonably regarded, if considered without reference to the contriving energy in which they had their origin. "He commanded, and they were created. He hath also established them for ever and ever. He hath made a decree which shall not pass." To look at them and not admiringly recognize the wisdom that has made them is to be like a cow or any other beast--which dimly looks, sees, feels, but does not understand--well enough in its place, but only as fattening flesh to be eaten. "0 Lord, how great are thy works! Thy thoughts are very deep. A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this" (Psa. 92:5). "The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein" (Psa. 111:2).
What man, who has made some great and clever thing, does not enjoy the appreciation of intelligent visitors? What man gets any satisfaction out of the unintelligent gaze of the uninitiated? If this be so with us, who are in the faint image of the Creator, we may understand why God should delight in the recognition of His works by the intelligent creatures He has made, and why He should have selected the completion of the moon's monthly journey for a special exercise in this direction.
There is an evident counterpart to the Mosaic monthly institution in the blessed age that is coming with the advent of the saints to power. It is" from one new moon to another", as well as from Sabbath to Sabbath, that all flesh appears in the temple courts to worship (Isa. 66:23). It is "every month" or once a month, that the Apocalyptic wood of life (the saints) yields its fruit for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:2), and it is "according to his months" that the literal tree on both sides of the temple river yields its fruit "whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed . . . the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine" (Ezek. 47:12).
There will be no monotony in a state of things in which the whole population is roused with the advent of every new moon in the heavens to a special service of worship and praise, and a special distribution of healing and blessing. The prospect of the Kingdom is a prospect of an endless succession of joyful activities.
But what nation, as at present constituted, would care for the activities of holiness? It is "when thy judgments are made manifest" that "all nations will come and worship before Thee" (Rev. 15:4; Psa. 86:9; 29:27-29; 102:16-22; Isa. 26:9). Till then, the only kind of activity that appeals to the general taste is the activity of the racecourse or the circus, or the theatre, and other polluted forms of public life. There are to be "new heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness" Among many detailed features of delightfulness will be the monthly recurrence of special feasts of praise, joy, and blessing.
Law of Moses Ch 28.
16 And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of Yahweh.
Passover, as first observed in Egypt, spoke to Israel, as we have seen, of redemption through sacrifice and of rest from bondage to sin. So vital was its ritual meaning to Israel as God's People that God designated it "My sacrifice" (Exod. 23: 18; 34: 25).
The slaying of the firstborn began after sundown midway through Abib. Before sundown the Israelites had had to slay the Lamb to procure its blood to serve as a token and a sign. So the rule became, "In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's passover" (Lev. 23 : 5 ; cf. Num. 28 : 16). But that terrible first night in Egypt, though spelling disaster to Egypt, meant release from bondage to Israel.
"Even the self same day it came to pass that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. It is a night to be much observed unto the Lord for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the Lord to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations" (Exod. 12 : 41-42).
This day - particularly as it could so conveniently serve as an anniversary of the original event was therefore even better qualified than the Sabbath to act as a commemoration of the Exodus. Hence the law,
"On the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord"
(Lev. 23 : 6).
That feast was intended to bring home to Israel with urgent force the moral demands of their status as God's ransomed People: so the rule was - "Seven days ye must eat unleavened bread". Of these the first (i.e., Abib 15th) was an holy convocation, and thus an extra sabbath. All servile work was forbidden; the epithet "servile" suggesting that commemoration of their serfdom in Egypt (Exod 1: 14) was the idea intended to be uppermost in their mind, and that abstinence from work in general was not to be so stringent as on an ordinary sabbath when even the busy activity of sowing and harvest had to be interrupted (Exod. 34 : 2 I; cf. Lev. 23 : 3).
But though servile work was prohibited, from one form of activity they could not rest. "Ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord seven days" (Lev. 23 : 8). The duration of the feast - seven days - was itself of sabbatical import, and appropriate as a period during which the Covenant People should commemorate its deliverance. As the week began, so it ended. "In the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein" (Lev. 23 : 8).
Law and Grace Ch 10
24 After this manner ye shall offer daily, throughout the seven days, the meat of the sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto Yahweh: it shall be offered beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.
25 And on the seventh day ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work.
The schedule of altar offerings for each of the seven days was significant. It was (Num. 28 : 19-25) :-
I. Burnt Offering:
two young bullocks.
seven lambs of the first year.
2. Meal Offering: as specified for each animal in the schedule of Num. 15: 3-12.
3. Sin Offering: one goat.
"After this manner ye shall offer daily, throughout the seven days, the meat of the sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord: it shall be offered beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering" (Num. 28: 24). Thus while the nation abstained from leaven (i.e., ritually abstained from sinning) in recognition of the obligations of its calling, it simultaneously pledged itself entirely to God by sacrificing to him "of the flock and of the herd" (Deut. 16 : 2), a series of animal offerings all "without blemish" (Num. 28: 19), among them "seven lambs"-seven to represent the People, lambs to recall the Passover victim in the same way as the Daily Burnt Offering.
But, in recognition of its actual sinfulness (which so belied the meaning of the ritual as a whole), each day there was offered as well a goat of Sin Offering. This would of course be offered before the special Burnt Offerings, and was a single animal because Sin Offering was never anything but a single animal, but both .the multiplicity and the greatly superior value of the Burnt Offerings ensured for the idea of self-consecration the special prominence which it was meant to have in the thoughts of the People at this time. The additional Meal Offering spoke likewise of righteous works, in significant contrast to the unrighteous works to which the presentation of the goat unhappily bore witness.
Law and Grace Ch 10.
26 Also in the day of the firstfruits, when ye bring a new meat offering unto Yahweh, after your weeks be out, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work:
27 But ye shall offer the burnt offering for a sweet savour unto Yahweh; two young bullocks, one ram, seven lambs of the first year;
28 And their meat offering of flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals unto one bullock, two tenth deals unto one ram,
29 A several tenth deal unto one lamb, throughout the seven lambs;
30 And one kid of the goats, to make an atonement for you.
Here was the whole range of offerings.
Sin Offering first, to bear witness to the nation's failure to attain the ideal presented to it in the Feast of Un leavened Bread - hence the two leavened loaves, eaten by the priest as type of God since they could not be burnt upon the Altar* (Lev. 2 : 1 I).
Burnt Offering second, to express renewed self-consecration to God for His mercy and pardon.
Peace Offering last to signify that God's purpose with Israel had potentially come to fruition, so that the nation could exult in its fellowship with Him, The loaves were waved with the lambs of Peace Offering (Lev. 23: 20) as a token that God accepted Israel, despite its sinfulness (symbolized in the leaven in the loaves).
"They are the firstfruits unto the Lord" (Lev. 23 : 17) was the added witness of the Law as it sought to remind Israel that they were but the precursors of many other peoples who would likewise be reconciled to God and made at one with Him, and also that as such they were to live "unto the Lord".
*It should be carefully noted that no Sin Offering accompanied the presentation of the Wave Sheaf of Firstfruits.
Law and Grace Ch 10