2 And ye shall offer a burnt offering for a sweet savour unto Yahweh; 1 young bullock, 1 ram, and 7 lambs of the 1st year without blemish:
The chapter is all about the sacrifices the children of Israel were to offer in the land...These things are all in abeyance at the present time, but they have not lost their power to teach.
They are all parts of a law which was "a shadow of good things to come," and which constituted in its entirety, "the form of knowledge and of the truth" as Paul informs us in Rom. 2. Let us consider them in this bearing, and see how much they tell us remindingly of the precious things of Christ.
First of all, the lamb is present in all these ordinances: a lamb daily, two lambs on every Sabbath, seven lambs on the first day of the month, seven lambs at the feast of the passover, and seven lambs at the feast of first fruits.... Jesus is introduced as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world;... The breaking of bread was instituted at the eating of the passover lamb; and concerning Jesus, who is memorialised in the breaking of bread at that time appointed, Paul says:
"Christ our passover is sacrificed for us."
Also in the visions of the Apocalypse, Christ is introduced as "a lamb slain"; and his name in this respect is continued in the figure of the Bride as the Lamb's wife, and in his description as the Lamb against whom the world at last makes war, and whose wrath (the wrath of the Lamb) is a destructive agent in the breaking-up of the present evil world. Consequently, it is no imagination or gratuitous exegesis that sees Christ in the lamb so frequently mentioned in Num. 28.
How pleasing is such a figuration of Christ - a lamb - the most gentle and in-offensive of animals-suggestive of nothing but peace and safety. What a contrast to a dragon - the symbol of the sin-power of the world. So great is the contrast between the things symbolised.
Human government is unfeeling, rough, unscrupulous, destructive. Nothing is more dreadful than to get into the clutches of the law. Even the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. But of Jesus, we read that he is a good shepherd, who will gather the lambs in his arms. He testified of himself as a reason why his invitation should be accepted,
"I am meek and lowly of heart;" "I am among you as one that serveth." And Paul speaks of "the meekness and gentleness of Christ."
How consoling in the midst of life's rough ways to think of Christ in this character. Every true heart has the comfort of thinking that, however roughly men may use them, there is a tender and loving man at God's right hand who is terrible only to his enemies; who, to those that love and obey him, will be a merciful and faithful high priest now, and a kindly and encouraging dispenser of the bread of life eternal at the appointed time.
Sunday Morning 299
31 And one goat for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, his meat offering, and his drink offering.
By Moses God gave a law which dealt with action "at the mouth of two or three witnesses," with conscience by the sacrifice of animals—sin, and the recovery from sin is the occasion of it all.
God has founded a system, equal in all its parts to the perfecting of mankind, so that his glory may "cover the earth as the waters cover the sea." This system had one important starting point somewhere about a.m. 2513, under Moses, and will be accomplished a.m. 7000, under Christ.
Man, by constitutional sin in Adam, had forfeited his claim to live ever, and when God rescued Israel from an Egyptian entombment and adopted them as his son, his first act was to give his son a law that would convict of sin, and bring in everlasting righteousness; it embodied holiness and promised life to those who kept it; but weak man, perceiving his inability to do so, would say with Paul,
"The commandment which was ordained unto life I found to be unto death, and sin, taking occasion by the commandment slew me."
This commandment or law consisted of a number of negative and affirmative rules, based on the eternal supremacy of God and consideration for man.
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself,"
and attached to the code was a variety of penalties in case of non-compliance. This divine court of justice was intrusted to two bodies of men, the Priesthood and the Judges (afterwards Kings). To the priesthood belonged the honour of provisionally dealing with sins of conscience—that is to say, instead of a man being immediately put to death for inherent sin, God permitted the man to identify himself with an animal (by putting his hand on the animal's head, thus making himself one with the animal), and bring it to the priest who killed it, and the shed blood was imputatively the man's blood.
In this way was the natural life of man allowed to run its course of threescore years and ten. Sins of action seem for the greater part to have been dealt with by the judges, who administered the law (or should have done), in exact accord with divine instruction issued through Moses.
We see that the tribunal thus established was purely and entirely divine. There was no offence left for the congregation to deal with; man's rights were not left to human decision; criminal matters, great and small, were not to be settled by private litigation,—all and everything was to be taken to Yahweh's judgment seat, there to be dealt with by Yahweh himself, in the person of chosen representatives.
Sin in all its phases was, so to speak, taken in hand by God himself. If anyone says, in reply to this, that Israel were in a sense avenging themselves by bringing a transgressor before the judges, we must remember that if man's lust of retaliation were in this way gratified, and exultation over an enemy his prevailing sentiment, he was thus disqualifying himself for that honour in store for the saints of holding the "two-edged sword," with which to execute the "judgments written."
Israel was acting under divine command, in taking his case to God. God was dealing with his case through the priest and judges. The people were not allowed in the smallest degree to allow vent to their own animosity; indeed, so far from this being the case, they were forbidden even to hate.
"Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart." "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Lev. 19:17, 18). "If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under a burden and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help him" (Exodus 23:4, 5).
It is true we find Christ saying in Matt. 5:43,
"It hath been said, thou shalt love thy neighbour and hate thine enemy, but I say unto you, love your enemies."
The enemy here referred to, whom they were to hate was not a mere personal offender, but those heathen nations, whom Israel as a political nation and typical kingdom were commanded to subdue, not only because they would be a physical infliction on God's people but because sin was rampant among them and would become a moral taint wherever touched.
The Christadelphian, Aug 1888