Lectionary Calendar
Monday, December 11th, 2023
the Second Week of Advent
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 28

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-31



As Israel prepared to enter the land, there are matters raised by the Lord of serious importance. Their recognition of God's rights must come first. He speaks therefore of "My offerings, My food for My offerings made by fire as a sweet aroma to Me at their appointed time" (v.2). Jacob, in going out from Beersheba, expected God to give him food to eat (Genesis 28:20), but he forgot that he ought to give God food to eat. We also too often think of our rights and forget God's rights. May we think more deeply of giving God some true refreshment when He is ignored by the multitude of humans. God has created us in such a way that we appreciate food. If so, is it not fully understandable to us that God should desire food from us?

Those offerings that Israel was to consider as God's food are detailed for us in chapters 28 and 29. Every day two young lambs were to be offered, one in the morning and one in the evening (vs.3-4). These were burnt offerings, emphasizing the honor that is to be wholly given to God because of the value of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. With it one tenth of an ephah of fine flour was included as a grain offering, mixed with one-fourth of a hin of pressed oil (v.5). This grain offering speaks of the perfection of the Humanity of the Lord Jesus expressed in all His life on earth, energized by the spirit of God (the oil). As we keep Him in affectionate memory before God, we are truly offering the grain offering. Verse 6 speaks of this in total as one offering of a sweet aroma, for there is perfect unity in the sacrifice of Christ.



On the Sabbath days there were two lambs added to the daily offering, with both grain offerings and drink offerings as in the daily offerings. The Sabbath speaks of the eternal rest of God, and in that day our appreciation of the sacrifice of Christ will not diminish, but increase.



There would be no lack of work to keep the priests occupied. At each month's beginning a special burnt offering was to be made to the Lord, of two young bulls, one ram and seven lambs of the first year, without blemish (v.11). With this was included three tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil for each bull, two tenths of the same for the ram and one tenth for each lamb. The total of this was called "a burnt offering of sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the Lord." (v.13).

Thus, special occasions called for special observance by Israel, and a drink offering of varying proportions for each animal was added.

But every month also a kid of the goats was to be sacrificed as a sin offering (v.15), not a trespass offering, for the trespass offering was for specific cases of trespass, while the sin offering applies to the root principle of sin as being hateful to God, so it was a reminder that the scourge of sin was present in every Israelite, as it is in us too, and only by the sacrifice of Christ is it properly judged.



The Passover was to be kept once yearly, on the 14th day of the first month. It was attended by "the feast of unleavened bread," kept up from the 15th day for seven days. It is considered one feast, for sometimes it is called "the feast of the Passover" (Exodus 34:25; Luke 2:41; John l3:1). Unleavened bread was to be eaten seven days, for the Passover speaks both of sins forgiven by the blood of the sacrifice and of sin condemned by the death of Christ. For leaven is symbolical of sin, and the seven days speaks of its complete judgment by the death of the Lord Jesus.

There was to be a holy convocation on the first day, a gathering of the people to give honor to the Lord: no work was to be done for they were celebrating God's work (vs.17-18). A burnt offering was to be presented, consisting of two young bulls, one ram and seven lambs in their first year. All being typical of Christ, they must be carefully inspected to see that they had no blemish. The young bulls speak of the strength of the offering of Christ, the ram speaks of His devotion to God and the lambs picture His lowly obedience in submission to the will of His Father.

The burnt offering was to be accompanied by a grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil; three tenths of an ephah for each bull; two tenths for the ram, and one tenth for each of the seven lambs (vs.20-21). The grain offering again speaks of the person of the Lord Jesus in lowly Humanity, and mixed with oil intimates that the Spirit of God permeated His every action from birth.

Added to these there was to be also offered one goat as a sin offering (v.22), the goat being regarded as a substitute for the people, with its reminder again of the sin that dwelt within the people that must be judged by virtue of the sacrifice of Christ, our Substitute.

Verse 24 indicates that the food of the offering was to be offered each day for the seven days, as a sweet aroma to the Lord. It does not seem that the sin offering was included for the six days following the first, for the sin offering is not "a sweet aroma," as the burnt offering is. The seventh day called also for a holy convocation (v.25), with no work being done.



The Feast of Weeks was 50 days (or seven weeks) after the Passover, when a new grain offering was to be brought as the firstfruits of Israel's harvest. On this day was another holy convocation when no work was to be done. This is typical of the birth of the Church of God at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-47), when the Spirit of God came to begin the forming of one body composed of both Jewish and (a little later) Gentile believers. "A new grain offering" implies that the Lord Jesus is seen as identified with His saints in the new dispensation of God, the Church period.

The burnt offering was to be identical to that offered on the Passover, two young bulls, one ram and seven lambs in the first year, the grain offering also the same, three tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil for each bull, two tenths for the ram and one tenth for each lamb (vs.27-28). These were for a sweet aroma to the Lord, while a kid of the goats was again offered "to make atonement," as a sin offering (v.30).

These offerings were only offered once on the day of firstfruits (v.26) for it was not a week-long feast as was the Passover (or of leavened bread). It is to be noted that "the Feast of Firstfruits" (Lev 23:914) is distinct from "the day of the firstfruits" in Numbers 28:26, for the former followed the Passover, while the latter was 50 days later. The Feast of Firstfruits is typical of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:20), but the day of firstfruits typifies the Church and the firstfruits of Christ's work of redemption, so that the Church is identified with Him as "a kind of firstfruits" (James 1:18). Does this not remind us that the birth of the Church is the result of the sacrifice of Christ? The Spirit who came at Pentecost will always keep in our memory the reality of which the Passover speaks -- the one great sacrifice of the Lord Jesus.

Again it is insisted the offerings must be without blemish (v.31). The perfection of purity in the Lord Jesus must never be compromised.

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Numbers 28". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/numbers-28.html. 1897-1910.
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