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As the people are now approaching Canaan, they are once more numbered; the sacrifices and burnt offerings again enjoined; and the several services for every day, the Sabbath day, and the new moons, and the day of passover, particularly again appointed.
It should seem by what the Prophet Amos saith (Amos 5:25 .) that the Israelites were forgetful of those sacrifices. And Stephen, who reproved the Jewish council when he was brought before them, for this neglect of their fathers, evidently explains the passage of the prophet Amos in this sense. See Acts 7:42 . Hence therefore, as all that generation was now dead, during their forty years sojourning in the wilderness, excepting Joshua and Caleb, the LORD saw fit to have these laws for the observance of his ordinances, repeated. The LORD'S people need to be reminded both of their duties and their privileges. But there seems to have been another reason also for the repetition of these statutes; and that is, that as the possession of the promised land was to be by conquest, while the people were engaged in war with men, they were never to forget making and preserving peace with GOD. Doth not this teach us somewhat very sweet and interesting concerning our JESUS, and our peace with Him through the blood of his cross, in the very moment we are at war with all the enemies of our salvation? Nay it is said, in the book of the Psalms, that Canaan itself, in the peaceable possession of it, was given to the people that they might observe his statutes and keep his laws. Psalms 105:45 .
Reader! do not overlook the LAMB of GOD, in this continual morning and evening service of the Israelite. Why, think you, was this perpetual morning and evening sacrifice, but to keep alive in the mind the sense of sin, and that without shedding of blood there is no remission? Oh! may you and I look daily, and hourly, unto JESUS; and behold his precious fulness and all-sufficiency of salvation, who by the one offering of himself once offered, hath forever perfected them that are sanctified. See that charming scripture to this point, Hebrews 10:10-14 .
Observe, the wine is to be strong, that is, of the best quality, wine on the lees well refined: meaning, no doubt, in a spiritual sense, the richness and strength of that complete salvation which is of GOD in CHRIST. Our best things, our strongest, richest gifts are the LORD'S property, and therefore, justly the LORD'S due: and all that we have, and all that we can offer, are of his own free grace to us; and when returned to him again, have no merit in them, to plead before GOD. See Malachi 1:7-14 . Let the Reader further observe, on these two verses, that this strong wine was to be poured out unto the LORD. So was JESUS'S blood poured out for the salvation of his church and people. And what is the service, even now, at the altar of JESUS, but the memorial of the same blood shedding? Oh! precious token of the Redeemer's love. LORD! may it be my portion with holy joy to take of this cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. Psalms 116:13 .
Reader! pause over these verses, to remark with me the peculiar honor and reverence appointed to the sabbath. The original institution of the sabbath was in honor of the works of creation: but in the gospel church do not the faithful commemorate both the old creation in nature, and the new creation in grace? I will not presume to say that the two lambs of the morning, and the two for the evening sacrifice had reference to the FATHER'S love in creating us at first, and the HOLY SPIRIT's love in re-creating the soul anew in CHRIST JESUS: but I must venture to say, that the double offering, on the LORD'S day, of those sacrifices, both at the morning and evening, evidently bespeaks the vast and infinite importance of the thing signified. Precious salvation! would I call it, when, I behold, it thus introduced and shadowed forth through so many intermediate ages, and by such perpetual remembrances.
The new moons were seasons of peculiar solemnity in the Jewish church, and seem to have been held in almost equal veneration with the sabbath. See 2 Kings 4:23 . But it hath not pleased the HOLY GHOST to give his gospel church so particular an account of the cause of their institution. There can be but little question that they had an eye to JESUS, to whom all ordinances pointed. And by comparing the thing itself with what is said of the solemnity of the worship observed in the season of the new moon, by the prophet Isaiah, a light seems to be thrown upon the subject, as if the ceremonies in them had an eye to the spiritual worship in the church of the LORD JESUS. There it is said, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before JEHOVAH. See Isaiah 66:23 . And I venture to observe, upon this passage, that the Hebrew will admit of this translation of it, from new moon to His new moon, and from sabbath to His sabbath: as if JESUS, who is the well known and allowed LORD of the sabbath, was particularly referred to. Matthew 12:8 .
Observe in those verses, the service of the passover, and the feast of unleavened bread succeed each other. Particular directions had been given concerning the service of the passover, and the great mercy intended by it: the remembrance of which was to be kept up in the church in their perpetual generations. See Exodus 12:0 and if the Reader be pleased to read our Commentary on that Chapter, I pray the LORD to bless it to his perusal. But the sacred historian is directed to give particular directions concerning the feast of unleavened bread, which commenced the fifteenth day of the month, and lasted seven days.
I would request the Reader to peruse those several verses with becoming reverence and attention, in order to remark with me the infinite value our GOD hath put on the blood of that one great Sacrifice, which all these services represented. What a profusion of blood was here continually shed! What an awful conviction of sin should it afford! and what a precious testimony doth it hold forth of the infinite importance of him and his one sacrifice, which hath forever done away sin; and made the comers thereunto perfect. LORD! write upon my soul, in characters never to be effaced, that without shedding of (His) blood there is no remission. Hebrews 9:22 .
The feast of unleavened bread was a day of great solemnity among the people; and the feast of first fruits, which followed in seven weeks after, was no less so; and it was intended as a season of testifying thankfulness to the LORD for the gathering in the blessings of the earth, and of festivity among the people. There was an offering made to the priest upon this occasion. See Leviticus 23:10 . This was the memorable feast which the HOLY GHOST was pleased to distinguish for the season of his first descent on the apostles; and by which indeed there were great offerings of the first fruits of the conversion of souls to GOD; and there can be no doubt, but that everyone of the great festivals in the Jewish Church was intended as typical of the glorious events of redemption in the Christian Church. The law was a shadow of good things to come; but the body is CHRIST. Hebrews 10:1 .
BLESSED JESUS! may all these ordinances, statutes, and appointments of a shadowy dispensation, be made the means in thy hands, of leading me to thee, in whom I behold, through the SPIRIT's teaching, all ordinances, statutes, and sacrifices, having their fullness and completion. Thou art indeed, the morning Lamb, and the evening sacrifice. Thou art CHRIST, my Passover, sacrificed for me: therefore give me grace to keep the feast, not with the old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. May I esteem thy person, thy favor, thy sweet communications of love, better than all new moons and feasts of the richest earthly enjoyments. Thou art thyself the very sabbath of my soul, and the only rest wherewith thou dost cause the weary to rest, and to become their refreshment. And LORD, grant that by thee I may be enabled to offer to GOD continually, the first fruits of my heart and of my lips, giving thanks in thy name.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Numbers 28". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30