BIBLE STUDY SERIES #407, 408 and 409

5 September, 1999

THE FEASTS REVIEWED - PART I

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our regular sequence of on-going Bible Studies, starting a number of years ago with The Call by The Almighty God to Abram in Genesis 12 has followed his progeny down to the Tribes of Israel who are presently on the border of the Promised Land. We had learned that Joshua was to be appointed as the new leader of the nation. We had read on to the end of Numbers 27, and now as we approach the next chapter, we might begin by reading some words contained in The New Bible Commentary. Introducing the new section of Scripture which covers Numbers 28:1 to 30:16, under the general heading "Laws Regarding Sacrifices and Vows", and specifically under the heading "a. Offerings required at prescribed intervals, xxviii. 1 - xxix. 40", The New Bible Commentary contains the following general summary comments:

"As the wandering life of the wilderness was drawing to an end and the settled life in Canaan loomed on the horizon, stress was laid on the performance of sacrifice at regular intervals, thus showing the continuity of God's presence with His people, and stressing the importance of constantly remembering the necessity of cleansing from sin. This section contains provisions first for daily sacrifice (3-8), then weekly (9-10), then monthly (11-15), then at certain special festivals (xxviii. 16 - xxix. 40). In connection with each of these, exact specifications for the offerings are given. The special festivals come in two groups, in the first and seventh months. The festivals of the first month include the Passover (xxviii. 16), which has already been fully described (see reference at Nu. ix. 1-14), the seven days of unleavened bread which immediately followed the Passover (17-25), and the day of the firstfruits (26-31). The festivals in the seventh month begin with celebration of the first day of the seventh month, when there was to be a great blowing of trumpets (xxix. 1-6). Then comes the day of atonement, which is the tenth day of the seventh month (7-11), and the feast of tabernacles, which begins on the fifteenth day of the seventh month (12-38). Further details about the day of atonement are given in Lv. xvi and xxiii. Additional details about the feast of tabernacles are found in Lv. xxiii. Here only the sacrifices are under consideration. On each of the first seven days two rams and fourteen lambs are offered; on the eighth day half as many. On the first day thirteen bullocks are sacrificed (23, 26, 29, 32). On the eighth day one bullock is sacrificed (36). Thus each half year would begin with a period of special festivals and sacrifices. Our present section has to do only with the prescribed services. Individuals would make thank offerings, or offerings with regard to their own special need of cleansing, in addition to these regular sacrifices (39)."

Keil and Delitzsch can likewise contribute some words for our understanding of this section. Under the heading "Order of the daily and festal offerings of the congregation. - Chap. xxviii. and xxix.", they comment as follows: "When Israel was prepared for the conquest of the promised land by the fresh numbering and mustering of its men, and by the appointment of Joshua as commander, its relation to the Lord was regulated by a law which determined the sacrifices through which it was to maintain its fellowship with its God from day to day, and serve Him as His people (chap. xxviii. and xxix.). Through this order of sacrifice, the object of which was to form and sanctify the whole life of the congregation into a continuous worship, the sacrificial and festal laws already given in Ex. xxiii. 14-17 , xxix. 38-42, xxxi. 12-17, Lev. xxiii., and Num. xxv. 1-12, were completed and arranged into a united and well-ordered whole. 'It was very fitting that this law should be issued a short time before the advance into Canaan; for it was there first that the Israelites were in a position to carry out the sacrificial worship in all its full extent, and to observe all the sacrificial and festal laws'... . The law commences with the daily morning and evening burnt-offering (ver. 3-8), which was instituted at Sinai at the dedication of the altar. It is not merely for the sake of completeness that it is introduced here, or for the purpose of including all the national sacrifices that were to be offered during the whole year in one general survey; but also for an internal reason, viz. that the daily sacrifice was also to be offered on the Sabbaths and feast-days, to accompany the general and special festal sacrifices, and to form the common substratum for the whole of these. Then follow in vers. 9-15 the sacrifices to be offered on the Sabbath and at the new moon; and in ver. 16 - chap. xxix. 38 the general sacrifices for the different yearly feasts which were to be added to the sacrifices that were peculiar to each particular festival, having been appointed at the time of its first institution, and being specially adapted to give expression to its specific character, so that, at the yearly feasts, the congregation had to offer their different kinds of sacrifices: (a) the daily morning and evening sacrifice; (b) the general sacrifices that were offered on every feast-day; and (c) the festal sacrifices that were peculiar to each particular feast. This cumulative arrangement is to be explained from the significance of the daily and of the festal sacrifices. In the daily burnt-offering the congregation of Israel, as a congregation of Jehovah, was to sanctify its life, body, soul, and spirit, to the Lord its God; and on the Lord's feast-days it was to give expression to this sanctification in an intensified form. This stronger practical exhibition of the sanctification of the life was embodied in the worship by the elevation and graduation of the daily sacrifice, through the addition of a second and much more considerable burnt-offering, meat-offering, and drink-offering. The graduation was regulated by the significance of the festivals. On the Sabbaths the daily sacrifice was doubled, by the presentation of a burnt-offering consisting of two lambs. On the other feast-days it was increased by a burnt-offering composed of oxen, rams, and yearling lambs, which was always preceded by a sin-offering. - As the seventh day of the week, being a Sabbath, was sanctified to the Lord in a higher degree than the rest, by an enlarged burnt-offering, meat-offering, and drink-offering; so the seventh month, being a Sabbath-month, was raised above the other months of the year, and sanctified as a festal month, by the fact that, in addition to the ordinary new moon sacrifices of two bullocks, one ram, and seven yearling lambs, a special festal sacrifice was also offered, consisting of one bullock, one ram, and seven yearling lambs (chap. xxix. 2), which was also repeated on the day of atonement, and at the close of the feast of Tabernacles (chap. xxix. 8, 36); and also that the feast of Tabernacles, which fell in this month, was the largest and holiest feast of the congregation of Israel."

They continue: "All the feasts of the whole year, for example, formed a cycle of feast-days, arranged according to the number seven, which had its starting-point and centre in the Sabbath, and was regulated according to the division of time established at the creation, into weeks, months, years, and periods of years, ascending from the weekly Sabbath to the monthly Sabbath, the sabbatical year, and the year of jubilee. In this cycle of holy periods, regulated as it was by the number seven, and ever expanding into larger and larger circles, there was embodied the whole revolution of annually recurring festivals, established to commemorate the mighty works of the Lord for the preservation and inspiration of His people. And this was done in the following manner; in the first place, the number of yearly feasts amounted to exactly seven, of which the two leading feasts (Mazzoth and the feast of Tabernacles) lasted seven days; in the second place, in all the feasts, some of which were of only one day's duration, whilst others lasted seven days, there were only seven days that were to be observed with sabbatical rest and a holy meeting; and in the third place, the seven feasts were formed into two large festal circles, each of which consisted of an introductory feast, the main feast of seven days, and a closing feast of one day. The first of these festal circles was commemorative of the elevation of Israel into the nation of God, and its subsequent preservation. It commenced on the 14th Abib (Nisan) with the Passover, which was appointed to commemorate the deliverance of Israel from the destroying angel who smote the first-born of Egypt, as the introductory festival. It culminated in the seven days' feast of unleavened bread, as the feast of the deliverance of Israel from bondage, and its elevation into the nation of God; and closed with the feast of Weeks, Pentecost, or the feast of Harvest, which was kept seven weeks after the offering of the sheaf of first-fruits, on the second day of Mazzoth. This festal circle contained only three days that were to be kept with sabbatical rest and a holy meeting (viz. the first and seventh days of Mazzoth and the day of Pentecost).

We shall reserve the remainder of the notes under the general heading for the next programme, and others for a later study when we are examining the contents of Numbers chapter 30: 1-16 and still later, Numbers 31:1-54.

12 September, 1999

THE FEASTS REVIEWED - PART II

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our regular sequence of on-going Bible Studies, starting a number of years ago with The Call by The Almighty God to Abram in Genesis 12 has followed his progeny down to the Tribes of Israel who are presently on the border of the Promised Land. Having passed out of Egyptian bondage through The Exodus, the first generation of Israelites, although they had experienced the commitments of Sinai, and the lessons of The Tabernacle, had stumbled in their approach to this borderland of Canaan. It has been left to the present generation, children of those who failed forty years before to make good God's Word regarding His intent to give them the Promised Land as their inheritance, to claim it now, with energetic steps. This was the intent, and it was to be done under a new leader, and led by the directives of The Almighty Whose covenant it was to fulfil the matter.

In our study, in Numbers 27, we saw how The LORD had told Moses that, because he had failed to carry out the words of God exactly at Kadesh, he had sinned in a manner which prevented God allowing him to lead Israel into The Promised Land. We had learned that Joshua was to be appointed as the new leader of the nation "Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd." (Numbers 27:17). We had read on to the end of that passage, and begun to read some introductory words from The New Bible Commentary on Numbers 28, followed by comments by Keil and Delitzsch who had dealt with the over-all picture of the contents of Numbers 28 to 31. Keil and Delitzsch stated "All the feasts of the whole year, for example, formed a cycle of feast-days, arranged according to the number seven, which had its starting-point and centre in the Sabbath, and was regulated according to the division of time established at the creation, into weeks, months, years, and periods of years, ascending from the weekly Sabbath to the monthly Sabbath, the sabbatical year, and the year of jubilee. In this cycle of holy periods, regulated as it was by the number seven, and ever expanding into larger and larger circles, there was embodied the whole revolution of annually recurring festivals, established to commemorate the mighty works of the Lord for the preservation and inspiration of His people. And this was done in the following manner; in the first place, the number of yearly feasts amounted to exactly seven, of which the two leading feasts (Mazzoth and the feast of Tabernacles) lasted seven days; in the second place, in all the feasts, some of which were of only one day's duration, whilst others lasted seven days, there were only seven days that were to be observed with sabbatical rest and a holy meeting; and in the third place, the seven feasts were formed into two large festal circles, each of which consisted of an introductory feast, the main feast of seven days, and a closing feast of one day." We had reserved for today's study the note on that second cycle of feasts. The reference continues in the words:

"The second festal circle fell entirely in the seventh month, and its main object was to inspire the Israelites in their enjoyment of the blessings of their God: for this reason it was celebrated by the presentation of a large number of burnt-offerings. This festal circle opened with the day of atonement, which was appointed for the tenth day of the seventh month, as the introductory feast, culminated in the seven days' feast of Tabernacles, and closed with the eighth day, which was added to the seven feast-days as the octave of this festive circle, or the solemn close of all the feasts of the year. This also included only three days that were to be commemorated with sabbatical rest and a holy meeting (the 10th, 15th, and 22d of the month); but to these we have to add the day of trumpets, with which the month commenced, which was also a Sabbath of rest with a holy meeting; and this completes the seven days of rest... ."

we now move to a verse by verse study of Numbers 28, starting with verse 1:

1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
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.

Here, The Companion Bible explains that "offering = approach offering", that the bread is "of species", and that this particular word is put for all kinds of food. Offer = "bring near", and "due season" means "appointed time." It adds a pointer to "Appendix 43" in that same reference, which consists of a page containing notes on the words "offer" and "offering." Introducing the matter, we read there, in an introductory paragraph, "There are some twenty-four Hebrew words, more or less synonymous, which are translated 'offer' and 'offering' in the Hebrew Old Testament. These Hebrew words are also translated in other ways, so that it is important for the truth-seeker to know, in every passage, which word is used", except where the meaning is clear in the passage itself. There follows a list of verbs meaning "to offer", which includes nine such words, and then a list of the words for the noun "offering", which lists 12 such words, each with some particulars by way of explanation. Keil and Delitzsch comment: "Ver. 2 contains the general instruction to offer to the Lord His sacrificial gift 'at the time appointed by Him.' On corban, see at Lev. i. 2 ...; on the 'bread of Jehovah,' at Lev. iii. 11; on the 'sacrifice made by fire,' and 'a sweet savour,' at Lev. i. 9; and on 'moed,' at Lev. xxiii. 2, 4."

3. And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; 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;

Here, The Companion Bible notes that "at even" actually means "between the evenings."

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.
6. It is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in mount Sinai for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD.
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 the LORD for a drink offering.
8. And the other lamb shalt thou offer at even: as the meat offering of the morning, and as the drink offering thereof, thou shalt offer it, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.

Keil and Delitzsch continue their comments with notes on "Vers. 3-8. The daily sacrifice: as it had already been instituted at Sinai (Ex. xxix. 38-42). - Ver. 7. 'In the sanctuary,' i.e. (Gk. peri ton bomon) (round about the altar), as Josephus paraphrases it (Antiquities iii. 10); not 'with (in) holy vessels,' ... . 'Pour out a drink offering, as (Hebrew shecar) for Jehovah.' Shecar does not mean intoxicating drink here (see at Lev. x. 9), but strong drink, in distinction from water as simple drink. The drink-offering consisted of wine only (see at chap. xv. 5 sqq.); and hence ... 'of old wine.'"

9. And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof:
10. This is the burnt offering of every sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.

The Companion Bible notes that "beside" means "over and above." Keil and Delitzsch note: "- Vers. 9, 10. The Sabbath-offering, which was to be added to the daily sacrifice (... upon it), consisted of two yearling lambs as a burnt-offering, with the corresponding meat-offering and drink-offering, according to the general rule laid down in chap. xv. 3 sqq., and is appointed here for the first time; whereas the sabbatical feast had already been instituted at Ex. xx. 8-11 and Lev. xxiii. 3. 'The burnt-offering of the Sabbath on its Sabbath,' i.e. as often as the Sabbath occurred, every Sabbath."

We will only have enough time to read the next Scripture passage for personal meditation, and we must leave our comments for the next study.

11. And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot;
12. And three tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one bullock; and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one ram;
13. And a several tenth deal of flour mingled with oil for a meat offering unto one lamb; for a burnt offering of a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD.
14. And their drink offerings shall be half an hin of wine unto a bullock, and the third part of an hin unto a ram, and a fourth part of an hin unto a lamb: this is the burnt offering of every month throughout the months of the year.
15. And one kid of the goats for a sin offering unto the LORD shall be offered, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.

As we have arrived at the end of today's time with the reading to verse 15, we shall pick up our studies in Numbers 28 on the next programme.

19 September, 1999

THE FEASTS REVIEWED - PART III

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our regular sequence of on-going Bible Studies, starting a number of years ago with The Call by The Almighty God to Abram in Genesis 12 has followed his progeny down to the Tribes of Israel who are presently on the border of the Promised Land. Having passed out of Egyptian bondage through The Exodus, the first generation of Israelites, although they had experienced the commitments of Sinai, and the lessons of The Tabernacle, had stumbled in their approach to this borderland of Canaan. It has been left to the present generation, children of those who failed forty years before to make good God's Word regarding His intent to give them the Promised Land as their inheritance, to claim it now, with energetic steps. This was the intent, and it was to be done under a new leader, and led by the directives of The Almighty Whose covenant it was to fulfil the matter.

In our study, in Numbers 27, we saw how The LORD had told Moses that, because he had failed to carry out the words of God exactly at Kadesh, he had sinned in a manner which prevented God allowing him to lead Israel into The Promised Land. We had learned that Joshua was to be appointed as the new leader of the nation "Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd." (Numbers 27:17). We had read on to the end of that passage, and begun to read some introductory words from The New Bible Commentary on Numbers 28, followed by comments by Keil and Delitzsch who had dealt with the over-all picture of the contents of Numbers 28 to 31. Keil and Delitzsch stated "All the feasts of the whole year, for example, formed a cycle of feast-days, arranged according to the number seven, which had its starting-point and centre in the Sabbath, and was regulated according to the division of time established at the creation, into weeks, months, years, and periods of years, ascending from the weekly Sabbath to the monthly Sabbath, the sabbatical year, and the year of jubilee. In this cycle of holy periods, regulated as it was by the number seven, and ever expanding into larger and larger circles, there was embodied the whole revolution of annually recurring festivals, established to commemorate the mighty works of the Lord for the preservation and inspiration of His people. And this was done in the following manner; in the first place, the number of yearly feasts amounted to exactly seven, of which the two leading feasts (Mazzoth and the feast of Tabernacles) lasted seven days; in the second place, in all the feasts, some of which were of only one day's duration, whilst other lasted seven days, there were only seven days that were to be observed with sabbatical rest and a holy meeting; and in the third place, the seven feasts were formed into two large festal circles, each of which consisted of an introductory feast, the main feast of seven days, and a closing feast of one day." We had reserved for today's study the note on that second cycle of feasts. The reference continues in the words:

"The second festal circle fell entirely in the seventh month, and its main object was to inspire the Israelites in their enjoyment of the blessings of their God: for this reason it was celebrated by the presentation of a large number of burnt-offerings. This festal circle opened with the day of atonement, which was appointed for the tenth day of the seventh month, as the introductory feast, culminated in the seven days' feast of Tabernacles, and closed with the eighth day, which was added to the seven feast-days as the octave of this festive circle, or the solemn close of all the feasts of the year. This also included only three days that were to be commemorated with sabbatical rest and a holy meeting (the 10th, 15th, and 22d of the month); but to these we have to add the day of trumpets, with which the month commenced, which was also a Sabbath of rest with a holy meeting; and this completes the seven days of rest... ."

On our last study we only had time to read verses 11 to 15, and we now move to a verse by verse study of Numbers 28, starting with verse 11:

11. And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot;
12. And three tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one bullock; and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one ram;
13. And a several tenth deal of flour mingled with oil for a meat offering unto one lamb; for a burnt offering of a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD.
14. And their drink offerings shall be half an hin of wine unto a bullock, and the third part of an hin unto a ram, and a fourth part of an hin unto a lamb: this is the burnt offering of every month throughout the months of the year.
15. And one kid of the goats for a sin offering unto the LORD shall be offered, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.

Keil and Delitzsch continue: "Vers. 11-15. At the beginnings of the month, i.e. at the new moons, a larger burnt-offering, consisting of two bullocks (young oxen), one ram, and seven yearling lambs, with the corresponding meat and drink-offerings, as the 'month's burnt-offering in its (i.e. every) month with regard to the months of the year,' i.e. corresponding to them. To this there was also to be added a sin-offering of a shaggy goat (see at Lev. iv. 23). The custom of distinguishing the beginnings of the months or new moon's days by a peculiar festal sacrifice, without their being, strictly speaking, festal days, with sabbatical rest and a holy meeting, arose from the relation in which the month stood to the single day. 'If the congregation was to sanctify its life and labour to the Lord every day by a burnt-offering, it could not well be omitted at the commencement of the larger division of time formed by the month; on the contrary, it was only right that the commencement of a new month should be sanctified by a special sacrifice. Whilst, then, a burnt-offering, in which the idea of expiation was subordinate to that of consecrating surrender to the Lord, was sufficient for the single day; for the whole month it was necessary that, in consideration of the sins that had been committed in the course of the past month, and had remained without expiation, a special sin-offering should be offered for their expiation, in order that, upon the ground of the forgiveness and reconciliation with God which had been thereby obtained, the lives of the people might be sanctified afresh to the Lord in the burnt-offering. this significance of the new moon sacrifice was still further intensified by the fact that during the presentation of the sacrifice the priests sounded the silver trumpets, in order that it might be to the congregation for a memorial before God (chap. x. 10). The trumpet blast was intended to bring before God the prayers of the congregation embodied in the sacrifice, that God might remember them in mercy, granting them the forgiveness of their sins and power for sanctification, and quickening them again in the fellowship of His saving grace'."

16. And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the LORD.
17. And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.
18. In the first day shall be an holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work therein:
19. But ye shall offer a sacrifice made by fire for a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, and seven lambs of the first year: they shall be unto you without blemish:
20. And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil: three tenth deals shall ye offer for a bullock, and two tenth deals for a ram;
21. A several tenth deal shalt thou offer for every lamb, throughout the seven lambs:
22. And one goat for a sin offering, to make an atonement for you.
23. Ye shall offer these beside the burnt offering in the morning, which is for a continual burnt offering.
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 the LORD: 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.

Keil and Delitzsch state of verses 16 to 25: "The same number of sacrifices as at the new moon were to be offered on every one of the seven days of the feast of unleavened bread (Mazzoth), from the 15th to the 21st of the month, whereas there was no general festal offering on the day of the Passover, or the 14th of the month (Ex. xii. 3-14). With regard to the feast of Mazzoth, the rule is repeated from Ex. xii. 15-20 and Lev. xxiii. 6-8, that on the first and seventh day there was to be a Sabbath rest and holy meeting." Specifically on verses 23 and 24, they comment: "The festal sacrifices of the seven days were to be prepared 'in addition to the morning burnt-offering, which served as the continual burnt-offering.' This implies that the festal sacrifices commanded were to be prepared and offered every day after the morning sacrifice."

As we have run out of time for today, we shall postpone our further comments until the next Bible Study.

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