Skip Heitzig - Numbers 28-29
Father, this is a unique evening where you call us to remember, to remember a sacrifice that was done so long ago on our behalf. Father, I pray that the Holy Spirit of God would bring things to our mind that maybe we need to deal with or confess here in a place like this in your presence. Certainly, it's safe to be in your presence and to unload and unburden our hearts. Father, I pray for brothers and sisters who are here who had a very difficult week. Lord, some who I just saw coming in and you could just see it wearing on them, life, circumstances, things with family or at work. I pray, Father, that you would strengthen us as your people, as we gather in the mighty name of Jesus knowing that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Help us, Lord, to understand and, Father, I pray that you'd help us to even be interested in what we're reading. I say that because we live in a culture that bombards us with constant visual changes, and the generation that we have before us is one that has a very, very short attention span. And so, Father, I pray that you'd help us to understand the importance of these foundational truths even from the Old Testament. Thank you for the opportunity, Lord that we have to gather as a family, in Jesus' name, amen.
We have two chapters ahead of us by the grace of God. I know I'm ambitious sometimes in these studies. Last week it was in my heart to go through four chapters and I made it through two, and so I'm not even going to tell you how many I want to do. We just kind of go until we stop, and this is the time of the week where we take the Lord's Supper together. So we have two chapters of Numbers before us and they're highly significant chapters, though we're not going to read every verse. I'll warn you right now, we're going to kind of sum it up, zero in on a few verses, and I'll explain why as we go through. Some of you grew up in a religious home. Some of you in that religious background grew up in an austere and more solemn religious home filled with ceremonies and rituals and solemnity in them. And if you were an average kid and you grew up with that, you didn't see a whole lot of relevance in those religious expressions for the world in which you really lived; there was a disconnect.
That's how I grew up. I grew up in a home where we practiced every week religious ceremonies that didn't have a lot to do with Skip's day in and day out life. It was highly irrelevant and very, very solemn. So when I was in high school and a band came through town from a church that eventually I would become a part of, this band came through to play music for the high school kids. It was music about Jesus Christ, and it shocked me. It shocked me because the music was good. They weren't playing organs, and singing hymns, they were playing guitars and it was something that I, as a high schooler, could relate to. They were talking my language, but they were talking about God. And I thought God couldn't be expressed in that kind of a language. I don't know why I thought that. It must have been from how I grew up and the churches I had been a part of. But it was my language, and I found myself liking the music, and so I was open to the message.
These people that were singing were happy, they were rejoicing; there was joy. And it dawned on me as a high schooler, "Is that even possible to be so happy and celebratory and talk about God doing it"? I'm serious. That's just not what I grew up watching and being a part of. I came to know the Lord shortly thereafter. I came into a relationship with him, and I was part of a church where I was part of the worship team. I played base and I sang, and, once again, I found myself having fun and doing it singing about the Lord. And I thought, "I don't know if this is right or not, but I sure like the way it feels". Now, I say all that because we are dealing in these two chapters with festivals. Just think of the term "festivals," "feasts". God would have feasts for his people, times of joy, times of remembrance, times of celebration. Certainly, there were times of solemnity, as we will see, and reflection, but so often they were just to celebrate God in their daily life. That's what he wanted from them.
So in chapters 28 and 29 we have observances that God has already said they should perform: daily sacrifices, weekly sacrifices, monthly sacrifices; besides that, the great festivals, the feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread and Trumpets and the Feast of Weeks and Firstfruits and Tabernacles. And he tells them to meet together. There is to be a rhythm of life daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, annually, where God is at the center of their community and they rejoice in the Lord. Now, a word about these gatherings, these offerings, these sacrifices: this is God's equivalent of "save the date". He's telling them, "Save the date. Write this in your appointment calendar. These are things I want you to do daily, weekly, monthly, annually. You save these dates". Now these were visual demonstrations. All of these celebrations, all of these offerings, all of these festivals were, were something they could see, not hear. It was like a drama being played out on the stage where visually rather than verbally they would get a picture.
See, our worship is highly verbal, not as visual in our culture. I'm speaking words, you're understanding what I'm saying by the words that I use. This was visual, not verbal back then. Now, it's a good thing that it's verbal because most of us couldn't stomach the visual. If I were to bring a lamb up here and say, "Well, let me demonstrate," and slit its throat and bleed it in front of you, some of you would pass out. That was part of their system. They were seeing acted out in drama form some of the great truths God was trying to get through to them by these festivals. It is the ancient equivalent of television. This was reality TV. They would gather together, at the center of their corporate life would be these offerings, these sacrifices, these visualizations, these dramatizations.
Now, from time to time it's good to ask the question, and anybody who's a newbie to the Old Testament will certainly ask the question: "Why so much blood? Why so many animals killed, slain? What's the deal with all that"? The deal with all of that is that if you want to approach God, you've got a big problem, all of us do, it is sin. And the only way to deal with sin is through something called atonement. Now, here's the verbal expression and then we'll see the visual. The verbal expression is "vicarious atonement". That's the theological tag, "vicarious atonement," which means a substitute will be killed so you don't have to be killed. So if you want to approach God, it says in the book of Hebrews, chapter 9, "For almost all things were purified by blood, for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin".
If you want to approach God who is perfect, you and I, who are imperfect, must have a basis to approach him with. And either you let someone or something take your place, that's a substitute. That's vicarious atonement, or you die for your own infractions and sin. So that dramatization is worked out before us in these festivals. Okay, so the last time we covered these, and they're repetitive. These sacrifices and offerings that we're reading about in these two chapters we've already looked at back in the book of Leviticus, chapter 23. So you're asking, "So, why does God waste pages to say it again? Why would he repeat himself"? New generation, that's the answer. The old generation is dead. When those were given, and they didn't have printing presses or emails back then, it was a verbal command. That generation is dead, a new generation has come, they need to hear it again. And so it is for us. Every generation needs to hear the gospel.
Why do we spend time every week, every month, every year going through the same Book, the same truths, the same gospel? Because every generation needs to hear it, and every generation needs to hear it again and again and again, because there are so many messages that are competing with "the message" that we need to be reminded of these truths. And so this generation is reminded. So in chapter 28 we're going to go through just some of these sayings. I'm not going to read every verse, because what it does it talks about the occasion and what is required for the occasion. For example, let me sum it up for you: every day you bring two lambs, one in the morning, one in the evening. Besides the lambs you bring a grain offering, besides, the grain offering you bring oil that's mixed with it, and here's the concoction, and that is sacrifice.
Every week you do what you do every day, but once a week on Sabbath day you double it. So it's two lambs in the morning and two lambs in the evening, and here's the grain and here's the oil that you mix with it for the concoction for the sacrifice. Then every month... and the recipes are given. But for the festivals there's going to be two bulls and one ram and seven lambs and here's the grain and the oil. So we're just going to kind of highlight some of these festivals, especially since one of them is Passover, which communion is based on. You follow?
So in verse 1 of chapter 28, "Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 'Command the children of Israel, and say to them, "My offering, my food for my offerings made by fire as a sweet aroma to me, you shall be careful to offer to me at their appointed time". And you shall say to them, "This is the offering made by fire which you shall offer to the Lord: two male lambs in their first year without blemish, day by day, as a regular burnt offering. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, the other lamb you shall offer in the evening". And the grain and the oil is added to that. So these are the daily sacrifices. And the daily sacrifices, a lamb in the morning, a lamb in the evening'", speak of relationship. So there's this constant unbroken fellowship that I am having with my Creator based upon the shed blood of two lambs, one in the morning and one in the evening.
So you begin your day, listen, and you end your day focusing on a lamb. So should we. We begin our day and end our day focusing on the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, focusing on Jesus Christ. You begin your day offering that day to him; you close your day focusing on the Lamb. So every day these two sacrifices were given, unbroken fellowship. It speaks of relationship. I remember as a boy, and I'm giving away, most of you know my background. But when I was a boy, I heard about what was called the "continual sacrifice of the mass". I didn't know what that meant and so they explained it to me in my classes that at any place on earth at any time they, the mass, the Holy Mass and the Eucharist is being offered somewhere in the world. It's supposed to be done every day and in every place so essentially there's this ongoing perpetuity, continual sacrifice of the mass, sacrifice of Jesus Christ dying for the sins of the world. Because they believe in a doctrine called "transubstantiation," that the host becomes the literal body and the wine becomes the literal blood of Christ.
So you're having this perpetual, continual sacrifice. Now what is that based on? That is not based on anything in the New Testament. It is based upon the Old Testament system which ended in Christ. Hebrews chapter 9 verse 26, "But Christ appeared once at the end of the ages to offer himself for sin". What the old covenant could never do because they had to keep doing it, keep doing it, keep doing it, Jesus did once for all. Which means if you and I blow it now, you don't bring a new lamb tomorrow and a new lamb tomorrow night, and a new lamb and the next day and a new lamb the next night; you talk to the Lamb himself who once for all, because it was a perfect sacrifice, was enough, sufficient. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness".
That's what you do, you confess to him. So your morning focuses on the Lamb; you're evening focuses on the Lamb. Now look at verse 9. We come to the second of the offerings; and that is, the Sabbath day. And the Sabbath speaks of rest. If the first one, the daily sacrifices speak of relationship, the second speaks of rest. That's what Sabbath means. Verse 9, "'And on the Sabbath day two lambs in their first year, without blemish, and two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour as a grain offering mixed with oil, with its drink offering, this is the burnt offering for every Sabbath, besides the regular burnt offering with its drink offering.'" Did you know that God instituted the Sabbath for us? It was for us. It was a gift to mankind. It's one of the Ten Commandments. And it's what I call the "maintenance law" of the Ten Commandments. God wants you to operate at peak operating possibility and he knows that if you just work seven days a week without a break, without a rest, you won't operate at peak. You need rejuvenation. You need recharging. And so he has given as a commandment to mankind, the Sabbath, rest, be rejuvenated.
So every day, every week they would appear and they would offer the sacrifices and they would remember and recall and focus upon all that that celebration meant, including the Sabbath. Something about the Sabbath, and if you go to Israel you'll see how it works. The whole week in Israel builds toward the Sabbath, looks forward to the Sabbath, so that by Friday afternoon people are already starting to slow down a little bit because Sabbath begins Friday evening and goes all the way through Saturday, through Saturday evening. So here's the deal: you'll see out in the streets in Jerusalem these flower stands, because it's customary when men come home Friday evening, to not come home without a beautiful bouquet of flowers for their wives. Every Friday you buy flowers for your wife and for the table to decorate it. Because you're saying something to your children: "This day, this Saturday, this Sabbath, this Shabbat, this rest, is a chance for us to focus in on God and on the family God has given us". So it's a longer meal, a leisurely meal, customary work is not done. The whole week builds toward that Sabbath.
Now, I'm often asked the question: "Well, when did the Sabbath change"? Answer: It never did. Sabbath is still the Sabbath. Shabbat is still Saturday: sundown Friday evening to sundown Saturday. Never changed. And that's usually followed by a question, because the first implies the second: "Well, is Sunday then the Christian Sabbath"? No, it's not. Sunday is the first day of the week; the Sabbath is the last day of the week. Both of them speak of two completely different things. The Sabbath commemorated a finished creation. The first day of the week commemorated finished redemption. Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week. That is why the early church met on the first day of the week. Well, that brings up a whole discussion of: "Well, what's the proper day to meet then? Saturday, Sabbath? Are we to keep the Sabbath"? Interesting, all the Ten Commandments have a moral bent, a moral inclination, except for one, and that is the Sabbath. There's no morality attached to it. There certainly is obedience attached to it, because God said to do it, but there's no morality that's built in it.
So it's an amoral commandment. It doesn't mean it's nonmoral; it's just without a moral component. Therefore in the New Testament all the Ten Commandments are reiterated somewhere, except for this one. So are Christians commanded to keep the Sabbath? No. Now I'm telling you that because I notice this development in some believers. They're saved by God's grace and they want to quickly find the nearest law to get under bondage in. "I'm just a little bit too free, so I'll go back to Judaism and I'll keep Passover and I'll keep Shabbat and I'll light the candles and I'll say the prayers". And part of it is simply a fascination with Judaism and our roots, but they get under the bondage of the law. And I tell them, "Go read and meditate and memorize, if you need to, the book of Galatians. You don't need that. You're free from it". So what's the best day to worship? Every day. That's my view. And my view is substantiated by what Paul said. Listen to what he said, "One man esteems one day of the week over all the other days; another man esteems another day over all the other days".
So here's a couple guys, and this guy says, "Sunday is the day to worship". The next guy goes, "No, no, no. Saturday is the day to worship". Then I come along and I go, "I think every day is the day to worship". now wait a minute, this is what Paul says, "Let each one be persuaded in his own my mind". "One man esteems one day. Another one esteems the other. Let each man be persuaded in his own mind". So you've got this guy who's Seventh-day Adventist, "Saturday is the day to worship"! Great! If you're persuaded in your own mind, then worship God on Saturday. Go for it. God bless you. We have a Saturday night service in you want to come to that and you'll feel better about that, that's your day. You might say, "No. That's the old covenant and I'm not under that. I'm a New Testament believer. I believe Sunday designates the resurrection, so I'm gonna worship..." Great.
We have three Sunday services on Sunday to choose from. But I believe that Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, you should begin and end focusing on the Lord and you worship him. So that's, that's how I am persuaded. So Sunday isn't the Christian Sabbath. Sunday is Sunday. Sabbath is Sabbath. Why don't I keep the Sabbath? I'm not Jewish. It was a covenant God gave to Israel. I'm not that, last time I checked. And even if I was, I'm under a new covenant and I do worship on Saturday. It just happens that that's just not the only day that I worship. I like to worship on all of them. That's the Sabbath.
Now let's go to the monthly one. I'm taking a little bit too much time in my explanations. Verse 11, here's the third one now. This is the monthly celebration. "'At the beginning of your months you shall present a burnt offering to the Lord: two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year, without blemish.'" The first of the month called in Hebrew Rosh Chodesh, the head of the month, the holy head of the month. You are hallowing a day, the first part of that month to the Lord. So God says, "I want you to celebrate daily, weekly, and monthly". If the first one speaks about relationship, the daily sacrifice, and if the weekly Sabbath speaks about rest, then the third, monthly, speaks about routine. God wants to get you into the routine of every day, every week, and every month, the head of every month, the first day of every month setting that aside as unto to Lord.
I think the best form of life is a disciplined life. You can, I think certain routines are good to establish. And certainly the routine of church, communion, celebrating together, Bible study, prayer, all those things are important disciplines. I will tell you this, that the Jewish months are based upon a lunar month, not upon a solar month. Not that that has a whole lot of importance, but it'll throw you off otherwise. So, the lunar calendar is based on 354, 3-5-4 days in the lunar calendar year; the solar is 365 and a third. So the Jewish month is between 29 and 30 days typically. And as the years go on they actually have to insert a month. I've explained that at a previous time and I would just bog you down if I tried to explain more now, and it's not our point. Let's go to verse 16 and see the next one: "'On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of the Lord.'"
Now this fourth celebration speaks of redemption. That's what the Passover is all about. And then it says, immediately it talks about another festival, "'On the fifteenth day of this month is the feast; unleavened bread it shall be eaten for seven days.'" The Passover was a festival, by the way, of all of the festivals in modern-day Israel, it is the one festival that most Jews in Israel keep. Ninety-nine percent of Israelis keep this one. It is that threshold moment that they look back and they remember Exodus, chapter 12, the death of the firstborn and the placing of the blood on the lintels and the doorposts. And it spoke to them of God redeeming them as a people going toward a new land, a covenant people. The death angel passed over, blood was shed, and we are redeemed.
Also, it's important for us because we're taking tonight the Lord's Supper. Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb. He died on Passover. When the lambs were being sacrificed in the temple, Jesus died on the cross. So, the Passover was both commemorative as well as predictive. It commemorated redemption; it predicted redemption. It commemorated past redemption from Egypt; it predicted the coming redemption in Christ as it was celebrated. How do we know that? Because in the New Testament Paul says, "Christ is our Passover". He fulfills it. So this speaks of redemption. When John the Baptist saw Jesus, he said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes way the sin of the world"! That's what Passover speaks about, the Lamb takes away my sin. It still works the same way today. Either you let the Lamb take your sin or you have to die for your sin. So, the Lamb, Jesus that was slain.
Now, in verse 17 I draw your attention to that, because Passover is treated in one verse followed by another festival that is separate but often placed together with Passover. It's the Festival of Unleavened Bread on the fifteenth day, which is the day right after Passover. "'Is the feast; unleavened bread it shall be eaten for seven days. On the first day you will have a holy convocation. You will do no customary work.'" This feast, Unleavened Bread, speaks of recuperation, recuperation. Let me explain. When the children of Israel left Egypt, they had no time to bake bread and watch it rise, leavened bread. They put yeast in it, it takes a while for that process to get you a loaf of bread. Because they were in such a hurry, they were told to bake bread without leaven, flat cakes. It would be like matzah bread today, like saltine crackers almost, but a little bit different, flatbread.
So, you take out the leaven, you bake the bread, and you move. But now they're in the land or they would be going to the land, and this would speak of the recuperation. After the leaven is removed your spiritual life is invigorated and you recuperate from all the haste of leaving Egypt. Now, because Passover and Unleavened Bread were so close together, I mean, one day apart, the seven-day feast, the first day is Passover, even though that's its own separate festival, it's the first day of Unleavened Bread, and it lasts for seven days. That is why so often they're just seen together, Passover and Unleavened Bread, but they're two separate festivals. One speaks of redemption; one speaks of recuperation. Down to verse 26, "'Also on the day of the firstfruits, when you bring a new grain offering to the Lord at your Feast of Weeks you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work.'"
Now, offering number six and seven are two together. They're mentioned in the same verse: the Feast of Firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost it's called. But they're seen together. Now, firstfruits was the first of the barley harvest in the spring, the Feast of Weeks. So you'd count, after that you would count 7 weeks, 49 days, plus a day, that's 50 days. That's Pentecost, means 50, 50 days. That's where it comes from. Pentecost was the end of the wheat harvest, so it extends these two festivals together: the beginning of the barley harvest to the summertime, the end of the wheat harvest. Both of these are seen together, the offerings are given, a holy convocation, and sacrifices are listed here. This is a feast of, listen, representation. Both of them represent something. The Feast of Firstfruits, according to First Corinthians 15 verse 20, speaks of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Paul says, "For Christ is risen from the dead," First Corinthians 15:20. "For Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep". You see, when you pluck off the first of the barley and you would wave that before the Lord, and I remember living in Israel when these feasts were being celebrated. So I really did get the visual of these young men and young ladies taking these sheaves, these first of the barley sheaves and waving them and dancing to music. And it was so expressive of the joy at the provision of God. But it spoke of something that was coming, something you can anticipate. The firstfruits speaks of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, just like the first of the barley harvest guarantees you if the first few grains are coming, the rest of the harvest is coming. The fact that you're just holding up the shoots shows you the rest is on the way. That's the firstfruits. If the firstfruits come, the rest is coming.
So listen, if Jesus rose from the dead, he's the firstfruits. Jesus' resurrection requires your resurrection, requires your resurrection, just as the Feast of Firstfruits requires the full harvest. So, the Firstfruits speaks of the resurrection. The second festival, the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost is representative of the church, just as firstfruits, the beginning of the barley harvest, Pentecost, the end of the wheat harvest shows you that the harvest is extended into a whole other species. So what's interesting is that the church was born on the day of Pentecost in Acts, chapter 2. God extended the harvest past the disciples, past Israel, past the Jews, into the Gentiles. The church would be born and people from every nation, every kindred, every tongue would be gathered into that great harvest. It was a representation of what was to come. That's what these festivals speak about, and the sacrifices were given.
Now, chapter 29. We're making good time. Interesting to make a note as we get into the next chapter: there's a gap of time between the first three feasts and the next three feasts of about four months. So, there's feasts that begin and are interspersed throughout the calendar year, then there's this gap where there are no festivals at all taking place, until the seventh month, the month of Tishri. In the month of Tishri, there are three festivals stuck together. So there's this gap of time. It is my opinion, if I'm looking for a type, I believe that that gap of time in these feasts speaks of the church age. The Jews rejected their Lamb, rejected their Messiah. They lost their temple. They lost their priesthood. Effectively, they lost their city. They lost the representation of animals being slain because of that rejection. In the future, however, there will be an awakening of them, and that leads us into the next chapter. After the gap of time we now come to the seventh month, three feasts that are given. And the first one, or in our list number eight, is the Feast of Trumpets.
Notice, "'In the seventh month, on first day of the month, you shall have a holy convocation,'" that means get everybody together, an assembly. "'You shall do no customary work. For you it is a day of blowing the trumpets.'" This is the Feast of Trumpets. And Feast of Trumpets is a reminder, just like you have an alarm clock that goes aynk, aynk, aynk, the trumpets will go aynk, aynk, aynk, and it will remind you of something. And it would remind you that one of the High Holy Days is coming up. Ten days later would be Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. So the Feast of Trumpets, the silver trumpets according to Leviticus would be blown and it would remind you of what is coming up.
Now the next ten days after the blowing of the trumpets were days of reflection. How much reflection do you spend, are you occupied in, that you just actually sit and mull over your life, your choices, where you've gone, where you're at, where you want to go, who you are, and what you are before the Lord, what you need to change, what you need to repent of? That's what these ten days were about. They were called in Hebrew, you ready? Yamim Nora'im. And Yamim Nora'im is Hebrew for days of awe or days of repentance. You're moving toward Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is that one day of the year where there is no feasting. None. That's the day of fasting. That's the solemnity of the year. That's the day you "afflict your souls" it will say. And the Jews interpreted that to mean that's the one day you don't feast, you fast, you withhold yourself from eating food.
So verse 2, "'You shall offer a burnt offering as a sweet aroma to the Lord: one young bull, one ram, seven lambs in their first year, without blemish.'" And that is the typical sacrificial recipe that is given along with a goat for a sin offering. And then the grain and the oil is also mentioned as well. Okay, now I'm going to throw you a little bit. The seventh month is Tishri, right? Remember that, Tishri? The first month, right... Passover is in the first month? Was called Abib. Later on it was given the name Nisan. So you've got the first month, now you've got the seventh month. Now here's where I'm going to throw you. On the first day of the seventh month the Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah, New Year. You're going, "Okay, now I'm really confused". You've got the first year where you got the first month, which is Passover month, and then you got the seventh month, and you celebrate New Year's Day on the seventh month. Exactly.
You say, "I'm confused". Well, you shouldn't be, because there's two calendars: the religious calendar and the civic or civil calendar. You say, "Oh, that's so confusing". Well, it shouldn't be, because you do the same thing. When is our New Year's? January 1. When does the school year begin? January 1? No. The school year begins in the fall, September or what is it now, July? I mean they keep moving it to... but it begins in the fall. That's the school year. That's when it begins. Businesses have what they call the "fiscal year," a whole different calendar. So it's simply a religious calendar and a civic calendar, but that is Rosh Hashanah. So, the sacrifices are given. Verse 7, "'On the day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall afflict your souls; you shall not do any work.'"
Now this is the Day of Atonement. Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement speaks of repentance. That's the one day when you "afflict your souls," not feasting but fasting. If you remember from our previous studies, on this day two goats, one was sacrificed, one was the scapegoat. The lots were cast, the scapegoat went out into the wilderness. And once it could be seen no more, the relay went back to the temple and everybody rejoiced: "Our sins are carried away". And it became then a time of rejoicing after the fasting. So those sacrifices were given. And now we come to the tenth festival that is mentioned in these chapters, the one we end with, and that's in verse 12, that is the Feast of Tabernacles. "'On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work, you shall keep a feast to the Lord for seven days.'"
Now during these seven days they would bring sacrifices to be slain, animals to be slain, blood to be shed. You'd bring 13 bulls on the first days, 12 bulls on the second day, 11 on third, 10, all the way to the eighth day, the last day. The seven days and then the great day, the eighth day of that feast, besides the rams, besides the lambs that were given, just an enormous amount of animals for this. Now, the Feast of Tabernacles commemorated in the Old Testament when the children of Israel lived outside. And so for one week a year during this week when they would have this festival, once the children of Israel got into the land, they would build a lean-to, like with leaves and sticks. And they would camp outside for an entire week.
If you make it to Israel during those this feast, modern-day Jerusalem, you'll see these little shacks. They're built everywhere. I mean, it just sort of likes like a ghetto in some places. But it's only there for a week. They take it down. They'll get palm leaves and sticks and they make this little shelter and they live in that shelter for a week. Why? Because they're going to remember during that week sleeping out under the stars, having a blanket because it gets a little cool at night, they're going to remember that their forefathers slept outside in tents for 40 years in the wilderness. And God provided for them, took care of them, brought water from the rock, manna from heaven. So, how meaningful to a kid who would grow up going camping in a lean-to for a week during the year. And then having mom and dad tell him or her the stories of our forefathers out in the deserts and in tents and God provided for them. That would be pretty exciting.
So the Feast of Tabernacles spoke about relocation, being relocated from one place to the new land, and the wilderness experiences, how God provided. So, all of those are given. Now go down to verse 35, all the sacrifices day by day all the way to the eighth day. "'On the eighth day'", verse 35, "'On the eighth day you shall have a sacred assembly. You shall do no customary work. You shall present a burnt offering, an offering made by fire as a sweet aroma to the Lord: one bull, one ram, seven lambs in their first year without blemish'" Now I'm not going to tell you all the rituals that happened on that day once they got the temple, but it was the custom during these days for one of the priests in the temple to go down from the Temple Mount to the pool of Siloam, does that ring a bell, Siloam? Siloam is that water area in Jerusalem where people could get fresh water from the well, from the Gihon Spring that feeds the city. It was the place where Jesus healed the man, "Go wash in the pool of Siloam".
So the priest would do down to the Siloam pool, and take water in a gold vessel, walk up to the temple area, and pour water on the courtyard of the temple. The water being poured out symbolized God providing water out of the rock in the desert. This is all during the Feast of Tabernacles. So, you're sleeping outside, you're camping out under the stars, you go to the temple, and this priest throws the water down. In other words, "God satisfied us and our forefathers' thirst in the wilderness all those years". When the water was poured out, the people would sing in unison a verse out of Isaiah, chapter 12, which says, "With joy you shall draw water from the wells of salvation," salvation. And there would be a big praiseathon in the temple. On eighth day of the feast the priest went down to the pool of Siloam twice and did that. It was the "great day of the feast," it's called.
The convocation in the temple was bigger than normal, because every day is culminating. On that day the Bible says in the gospel of John, "On the last day of that feast Jesus in the temple cried out, 'If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink. For as the Scripture says, out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' This he spoke," said John, "of his Holy Spirit". I wish that was on MP3. I'd love to be able to just hear and sense what that must have been like in the temple. For when everybody's singing, "'With joy you will draw water from the well of salvation!' Isn't it marvelous how God provided for our forefathers and gave them refreshment"? "If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink, out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water". That's what happened on the eighth day of the feast, the great day in the New Testament.
So the offerings are given. Let's finish it out. Verse 39, "'you shall present to the Lord at your appointed feasts (besides your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings) as your burnt offerings, your grain offerings, as your drink offerings and your peace offerings.' So Moses told the", I'm going to insert a couple of words, the new batch of "the children of Israel everything, just as the Lord commanded". Now, think of the enormity of these sacrifices just what you and I have just considered in the minutes we've been together. Think of how many animals have been killed in a years' time. If you add them up, you'll have 113 bulls, 32 rams, 1,086 sheep in one year. That's an enormous amount of bloodshed. And you might even be thinking, "Well, that's a lot of giving. That's a lot of sacrifice to give. Why so much sacrifice"?
Now follow my thinking here. It's really not too much to give, because who provided those lambs to begin with? Who provided all that they have to begin with? God did. So, "Boy, God sure demands a lot of sacrifice, a lot. We have to give a lot to God". Really? Now just think that through. He gave it all to you. And you could put, you could put tithing in there. "Boy, God demands 10 percent of my income to be given to his work? That's an awful lot". He's letting you keep 90. And how much did he give you in the first place? All of it. All of it. It's all his. It's all his. When I was a kid, I gave my brother for his birthday one year a book. I was just a little tyke, maybe six, seven years old. I gave him a book, a hardback book. You know where I got the book? From his closet. It was his book, but I figured he hadn't seen it in so long, he probably didn't even know he owned it.
So I took it out of his closet and I wrapped it up and I gave it to him. How much of a sacrifice did I make? Since he provided the book to begin with, it was his book. Or how about this: when I was young and it was Father's Day or it was my dad's birthday, my mom would give me some money to go buy a gift for my dad. And I'd spend it all on him, all of it. Was that a big deal? Was that a big sacrifice for me? No, because the money that she gave me was the money my dad earned to give to her to begin with, so it was his money.
So you think of all of these sacrifices, even if God said, "I want you to lay your life down for me," God gave you life to begin with. And what we celebrate when we take communion is that Jesus did lay down his life. He is the Passover Lamb, and besides that, he has provided so much more. It says in the book of Romans, chapter 8, "If God did not spare his own Son but freely gave him up for us all, how then shall he not with him also freely give us all things"?
o if he gave his life and he freely gives us all things and provides for us, then whatever we give to him: our praise, our devotion, the raising of our hands, the expression of our lips, our time, our talent, our treasure, he provided it all to begin with. It's minuscule. So rather than the enormity of the sacrifices God demanded, think of the enormity of the sacrifice God himself gave in putting up with these people, in bringing these people, in giving them a new land, in giving them redemption from slavery and promising to provide along the way. So you have with you close by or somewhere near you these elements with which we're going to take communion. We'll have you take those out at this time. And Jarrett, since he stood up, is going to come and he's going to pray for the bread and what it symbolizes and then we'll take the bread together.
Pastor Jarrett Petero: Father, all we can say is thank you. And with those simple words that's all I can say is thank you. Let's take the bread.
Skip Heitzig: Jesus did take the bread on the night of the Passover when he shared with his disciples that meal, we often call it the Last Supper. I love what Jesus said. He said, "I have so longed to take this meal with you before I suffer, with great desire or fervency I have desired to eat this Passover with you". And he said, "I won't partake of it again until I do it anew with you in my kingdom". That's something to look forward to, isn't it, sitting down at a meal with Jesus himself in the kingdom age? You will do it. You will do it. And he took the bread and he broke it as so often is done at Passover. And he gave the blessing in Hebrew and he distributed it to his disciples. And he took what was commonly understood as the bread of the Passover that which was commemorative of deliverance, and made it something that is predictive of his own deliverance in the next few hours as he would go to Golgotha, the cross.
And so it is for us too. We are looking back to the redemption of Jesus Christ; we are looking forward to his coming again. But then Jesus took the wine, the fourth cup of the Passover meal, the cup of redemption it is called. And he gave the blessing and he gave a new meaning to it, and said it was indicative of his blood, not the blood of a lamb in a temple, but the blood of the Lamb of God, a man, the God-man, would be shed within hours so that you and I today, tonight, and in the future can enjoy his provision. I'm going to ask Jesse who's up in front to pray for the juice.
Pastor Jesse Lusko: Father, we thank you that you give us everything. You gave us life and creation and you gave us your Son as a sacrifice that we deserve death, we deserve punishment, but Jesus who is life came and died in our place. And we thank you for the blood that's so vivid it just shows us that you've paid everything, that everything's been made for our salvation and we rejoice in that and we look forward to the day when we're with you, when we see you face-to-face. We take the cup together.