From Slaves to Soldiers

Chapter 28

Yahweh told Moses to instruct the new generation of Israelites about the sacrifices. They were important because they would relieve the individuals, as well as the nation as a whole, of crippling guilt when they acknowledged their corrupt state or destructive actions. Furthermore, they were a picture of the future that would help Israel recognize their Savior when he came. The daily sacrifices gave the chosen people a chance to start fresh every day when it was accompanied by faith in the power of Yahweh to forgive and cleanse from sin/imperfection. They were a lesson for the chosen people that it was their responsibility to stay in close relationship with their God, Yahweh. They needed to touch base with him morning[1] and evening[2]. The two healthy yearling lambs were to remind them that nothing short of innocent perfection could be their sin substitute. The fine flour mixed with olive oil was to remind them that all good gifts are from Yahweh and he deserves only the best in return. The drink offering was a beverage desirable to drink with meals and this was a metaphoric meal enjoyed with Yahweh.

Every Sabbath day, an additional lamb – along with the grain offering – was sacrificed every morning and every evening. The chosen people would know that the Sabbath wasn’t just a day to set aside to rest from their daily work, but a day when they were to give more attention to their relationship with Yahweh than any other day.

Yahweh set the moon apart as the main marker of the months. Before the time of modern calendars, the new moon was vitally important, as it was the official announcement of when the new month had begun. Because Yahweh gave commandment to observe the feasts and festivals in their given times it was vital to keep accurate count of when the new month began in order to celebrate the festivals correctly.[3]

Yahweh made it very clear that the fest of the new moon was to be celebrated not because it was for man but because it was appointed by him for a time of reflection.[4]

Psalm 81 tells us that Joseph instituted the Rosh Chodesh during his tenure as the viceroy of Egypt. Joseph had the power to declare the decree and the people of Egypt, principally the sons of Israel, were delighted to make the recognition of the new moon as a joyful feast. The testimony was to honor Joseph for what he did as a righteous deliverer, who in many ways prefigured the coming Messiah of Israel and the redemption that He would ultimately bring.[5]

The new moon – each new month – was a time of spiritual renewal when Israel was to reflect upon her ordained purpose in the world, on Yahweh’s presence in the world, and a time to renew each person’s spiritual life as belonging to Yahweh. Besides being a time of fresh dedication of each person to Yahweh it was a time of blessing him and it was an opportunity to ask for his blessings and direction on the planned endeavors for the coming month.[6]

Yahweh’s instructions for the new moon were for the chosen people to offer two young bulls, one ram, and seven male yearling lambs – all in the best of health. These were to be whole burnt offerings. The Grain-Offering was to be of six quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each bull, four quarts of fine flour mixed with oil with the ram, and two quarts of fine flour mixed with oil with each lamb. Drink-Offerings of two quarts of wine for each bull, one and a quarter quarts of wine for the ram, and a quart of wine for each lamb are to be poured out. Along with the whole burnt offering Israel was to offer a male goat as an Absolution offering. “Sins of the high priest required the offering of a bull and the blood was not poured on the altar but sprinkled from the finger of the high priest 7 times on the altar. Then the fat was burnt, and the remainder was burned (never eaten) outside the camp “unto a clean place” where the sacrifice was made and the ashes were poured out.”[7]

Nisan, 14 – Beginning at sundown on the fourteenth day of the first month Passover – or Pesach – begins the spring feasts. This feast commemorates the day when Egypt’s first-born sons died while the angel of death passed over the houses where the blood of the sacrificial lamb was sprinkled on the doorposts.[8]

Nisan, 15 – The second feast was on the fifteenth day of the same month, the day after Passover. The nation of Israel was to eat unleavened bread in memory of the unleavened bread they ate when they left Egypt; and they were to eat it for seven days as a symbol of a holy – and complete – walk with Yahweh. On the first of those seven days they were to hold a sacred assembly and not do any regular work. They were to offer fire gifts to Yahweh for seven days and on the seventh day they were to hold another sacred assembly when they didn’t do any regular work.[9] Yahweh instructed Israel to bring another Whole Burnt Offering with its accompanying grain and drink offering along with the Absolution Offering and sacrifice them in addition to the regular morning Whole Burnt Offering.

Nisan 16 – First-fruits, Bikkurim – Yahweh told Moses to tell his people that when they reached The Promised Land, on the morning after the feast of unleavened bread; they were to take the early crops of their spring planting to him as an acknowledgement of the fertility of the land that Yahweh gave them. They were to give the first fruits to the priest and he was to wave a sheaf before Yahweh for acceptance on their behalf. Along with the first-fruit offering, on that same day, they were to offer a year old lamb without flaw for a Whole Burnt Offering with four quarts of fine flour mixed with oil; and a drink offering of a quart of wine. This was a free gift to Yahweh and was a “sweat savor to him.” They weren’t to eat any bread or roasted or fresh grain themselves until they presented their offering.[10] Yahweh instructed Israel to bring another Whole Burnt Offering with its accompanying grain and drink offering along with the Absolution Offering and sacrifice them in addition to the regular morning Whole Burnt Offering.

Yahweh reminded his chosen people that these offerings were over and above the regular daily Whole Burnt Offerings with their accompanying grain and drink offerings. He told them again that all the animals had to be healthy – a representation of perfection.

Possibly the most problematic truth for human beings to accept is that the life of an innocent victim should be slaughtered on behalf of the guilty. It all started in the record of what happened in the Garden of Eden. Yahweh created humans in his image – as spiritual beings with eternal life. It was not possible for them to cease being. Adam had absolute dominion and authority over Yahweh’s creation with only one restriction. Yahweh told him not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or he would be sure to die. Since everything that flew, swam, and crept was under the dominion of Adam when the serpent being came into the garden, it, too, was under Adams power. Adam allowed the serpent[11] to converse with his wife and call Yahweh a liar. He didn’t stop their conversation and he himself swallowed the lie and let evil in. The whole world was hopelessly plunged into darkness and death.

Adam and Eve didn’t physically die for many years. Spiritual death came first just as Yahweh had warned them. Death is separation from Yahweh. They didn’t know death but they knew their God had said “No” and when they disobeyed him death ruled in their spirits and as well as their bodies. Their spirits, the part of them that was eternal, and the part of them that knew Yahweh, was filled with darkness and death was in power. Corruption began its evil work. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil embodied the rebellious nature of Satan and from that point on the human race has been endowed with that same treacherous nature.[12]

Yahweh clothed Adam and Eve with tunics of “skin” taken from one animal. They saw Yahweh, the giver of life; take the life of an innocent animal to cover their nakedness. They knew that from that point on they could only approach Yahweh on the basis of the blood of a substitute – the vehicle of redemption. The animal substitute bore every drop of justice and Adam and Eve went free.

Yahweh’s love and grace for the human race provided a means by which full justice would be met and not have to be absorbed by us. Yahweh allowed full justice to fall upon a substitute, not a little bit, but absolutely. The substitute would be a surrogate for the judgment that the sinner deserved. The substitute literally became sin for the sinner. Yahweh didn’t just make believe that the person’s sins were on it but that animal in his eyes became the abhorrent sinful nature and Yahweh’s full judgment fell on the substitute. Throughout history when Yahweh’s chosen people slaughtered a lamb the full penalty would fall upon the innocent substitute and the person who was actually guilty was no longer culpable because the sin has been dealt with. The person could proclaim that he or she had been forgiven and that the debt had been paid, until he or she sinned again and would have to sacrifice another sin substitute throughout the year. In addition to these times of sacrifice, once a year on Yom Kippur all the sins of the nation were atoned for. However, animal sacrifice was only a temporary solution. Yeshua/Jesus didn’t just bear our sins; he[13] became the putrid thing within Adam that separated him from Yahweh.

He completely and utterly identified with the condition of fallen man. He bore the whole sin nature and became our substitute, bonding completely with our condition. His identification made him[14] the object of wrath and all the judgment of Yahweh was laid upon him. He literally became sin for the world. Every sin, past, present, and future, every sin that ever was or ever will be was in a moment of time laid upon Him.[15]

It has always been the attitude of faith that Yahweh wants from his creation. When a common Israelite brought a lamb to sacrifice, Yahweh never wanted just the ceremony – a proper ritual. He desired a heart convinced that he keeps his promises. Praise was always a part of sacrifice because one could not truly praise Yahweh from the heart unless the heart was free from guilt and knew it was forgiven.

When people of faith brought a sacrifice to the priest they knew that they were sinners and deserved to die. They knew that Yahweh had given them a system called His ceremonial law where the animal, when they pressed their hand upon its head, become the sinner and the sinner become as innocent as the sacrifice really was. There have always been people who just went through the motions and never grasped the mercy of Yahweh. They took the animal just as the law directed, put their hands on it just as they were taught, but did it all out of habit as a physical exercise that didn’t touch their soul. There are still these two kinds of worshiper today but only Yahweh can read the heart and knows the difference. Yahweh is the only one who has the ability and right to judge the difference.

 

Summary of chapter 28

Yahweh established his bond with the chosen people every morning and every evening in the prescribed Whole Burnt offerings and their accompanying grain and drink offerings. When he repeated the instructions for the new generation of his chosen people who would soon enter the Promised Land, he was reinforcing existing, knowledge, behaviors, skills, and values.[16] He was communicating with people in a time and place that we have trouble understanding unless we approach the subject through the eyes of the ancients. By requiring the best from them he was authenticating the fact that he is the best. The Whole Burnt offerings were a picture for future generations to show us the purpose and work of our Savior. We see that Yeshua/Jesus is both the priest offering the sacrifice[17] and the sacrifice.[18] Yahweh instructed his chosen people to remember him and obtain his mercy and grace through the sacrifices daily, weekly, monthly, and annually. The yearly Passover was to last seven days – long enough to reflect on the goodness and mercy of their God, Yahweh. The feast of firstfruits was an opportunity to demonstrate their recognition that Yahweh is the creator and sustainer of life and the giver of all good gifts.

 

Prayer: Lord, it has always been impossible for anyone to see spiritual truths with physical eyes. Help me to open my spiritual eyes and see the things you are trying to teach me through the Bible accounts of how you have worked in the past and through the things in your creation that declare your glory, and through you family. Help me to see you and your works in the things you do in my life and around me, and the things you are doing in the world around me. Help me to be so aware of you that I reflect your glory to the entire world around me and they see you instead of me. Thank you for the lessons in your ceremonial laws for the ancient Israelites and the lessons there for me today. Thank you for eternal life through your Son, Yeshua ha Mashiach.

 

 

Things to think about

  1. Why do you think Yahweh repeated the instructions for the sacrifices?
  2. Why were the sacrifices important?
  3. What do you think an Israelite who had no personal faith in Yahweh did about that inbred sense of guilt that we all get when we realize that we’ve messed up?
  4. What was the object of the daily sacrifice?
  5. Why were the Israelites taught to give the best to Yahweh?
  6. Why do you think an additional sacrifice was required on the Sabbath?
  7. Why do you think Yahweh required a sacrifice on the first of every month?
  8. What do all these sacrifices tell you about the character of Yahweh?
  9. What do these sacrifices tell you about your need for constant and habitual communion with our God, Yahweh?

 

 

[1] Psalm 5:3

[2] Psalm 63:6; 55:17

[3] IBID

[4] IBID

[5] IBID

[6] https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Hebrew_Roots/New_Moon

[7] http://www.bible-history.com/tabernacle/TAB4The_5_Levitical_Offerings.htm

[8] Leviticus 23; Displaying holiness, page 242

[9] IBID

[10] IBID

[11] Hebrew. Nachash, which means poisoner

[12] Romans 8:2

[13]2 Corinthians 5:21

[14] He was God, Yahweh, made manifest in the flesh

[15] I Corinthians 15:21, 22

[16]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning

[17] Hebrews 7:11-28

[18] John 1:29-31

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