Numbers 28

Sunday Evening Bible Study

April 12, 1998

Introduction

The Israelites are right on the verge of entering into their Promised Land.

The last time they were right on the edge of entering in, they were discouraged by the reports of giants, and they didnít think they could trust God to take care of them.

So theyíve spent the last 40 years, wandering in the wilderness as God has been transforming them from a bunch of complaining slaves, into a lean, mean, fighting machine.

Theyíve actually began the "warm-up" exercises, by conquering the Amorite kings Sihon and Og.

But then a tragedy has struck, as they got sidetracked by a temptation to sin. The Moabites sent their young ladies into the Israeli camp to tempt them into fornication, and as a result there was a plague, and 24,000 died.

Now, after having taken the second census in the wilderness, theyíre beginning to get a "refresher course" on the basics of their worship.

Numbers 28

:1-8 Daily Offering

:2 You shall be careful to present My offering

The children of Israel were about to enter into the Promised Land. Even though they had been well trained in how God desired for them to worship Him, it is time to remind the next generation coming up as to the important things.

We need to keep a proper perspective about these sacrifices.

We somehow get this idea that if we do something to hurt someone, then we can make it up by doing something nice in return, and that somehow makes it okay.

We think that if we've done something to hurt God, then we can somehow make it up by giving more money in the agape box, or by helping out in the Sunday School.

That's an improper concept of what pleases God.

(1 Sam 15:22 KJV) And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

(NAS) HEB 13:15-16 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Lesson:

Donít abuse sacrifice by trying to "pay God off".

God wants your obedience, your heart, not your money.

As we saw this morning, the cleansing of our hearts comes through faith Ė

(Acts 15:9 KJV) And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

:3 a continual burnt offering

God desired that Israel continually have a lamb burning on the altar, night and day, day in and day out.

There's two pictures this represents:

1. Jesus, our perpetual sacrifice.

Jesus was undoubtedly the picture behind the Passover Lamb.

(John 1:29 KJV) The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

(1 Cor 5:7 KJV) Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

Jesus' blood covers us so God is able to "Pass Over" our sins.

The Passover lamb was to be an unblemished male lamb, one year old. Same as in the daily sacrifice.

Jesus is constantly available to bear our sins.

HEB 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

Lesson:

Jesus is always available to pay for your sins!

He wants to pay for your sins!

2. Our lives as a living sacrifice

The idea of the burnt offering was that the lamb was taking your place on the altar. You somehow imparted yourself into that lamb, then it was slaughtered, cut into pieces, and completely consumed on the altar. Nothing was to be left behind but ashes.

God desires much of the same of our lives, in a spiritual way.

He desires that we place our entire lives: Our hopes, our wishes, our plans, our emotions, upon His altar. Then the fire is lit. And we are completely consumed. We are completely given over to God.

(Rom 12:1-2 KJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. {2} And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Lesson:

Keep your life on the altar!

:4 one in the morning, ... the other ... at twilight

Two offerings every day. Morning and evening.

This says something about not only having a "Quiet Time" in the morning, but having a time with the Lord in the evening as well, or vice versa.

The famous English preacher, Charles Spurgeon, wrote a book for devotions called "Morning and Evening".

Lesson:

Back to the altar.

Climb back up on the altar in the morning, get back on at night.

How about this prayer (thanks to Wanda!) Ė

"Lord, I have been so good today. I havenít raised my voice to anyone. I havenít called anyone rude names. I havenít yelled and screamed, ranted and raved at anyone. I havenít even broken anything or hurt anybody. But Lord, Iím about to get out of bed in about five minutes and I will probably need your help then."

:4 at twilight

The morning offering was to be done first thing of the day, just not before daybreak.

The evening offering was slain around sunset.

This was the "time of the evening offering", which was one of the times you could set your watch by in Bible times.

Josephus tells us that it occurred at the ninth hour (3:00 in the afternoon), while the Mishna taught that it actually took place at 3:30 p.m.

This little tidbit will come in handy in your Bible reading when you come up on passages like these:

(1 Ki 18:36 KJV) And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.

Imagine the story of Elijah calling down fire on the sacrifice, happening right at sunset! What a fireworks show!

(Dan 9:21 KJV) Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.

:9-10 Weekly Offering

:9 on the sabbath day two lambs...

It does not say when these were to be sacrificed, but the Jews by practice did it right after the morning sacrifice.

Notes:

Many people settle for just the Sabbath Offerings, enjoying Jesus and giving themselves to the Lord once a week. But God desires these things every day!

It is neat that it seems like we get a double portion (two male lambs, not just one) of the Lord when we all get together and have church together!

:11-15 Monthly Offering

:11 at the beginning of each of your months

The Jews use a lunar calendar, and their months follow the phases of the moon.

Thatís why Passover is on a different day each year, sometimes a different month.

These sacrifices at the beginning of the month were known as "New Moons".

In addition to the sacrifices, trumpets were to be blown.

(Num 10:10 KJV) Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.

These apparently also became feast days.

1SA 20:5 So David said to Jonathan, "Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I ought to sit down to eat with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field until the third evening.

PSA 81:3 Blow the trumpet at the new moon, At the full moon, on our feast day.

The problem with things like this is that we get into doing rituals rather than understanding what we're supposed to be doing. God would rather that we use the time to draw near to God. We want to say the magic words and eat our supper and not get too close to God.

ISA 1:13-14 "Bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies-- I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly. 14 "I hate your new moon {festivals} and your appointed feasts, They have become a burden to Me. I am weary of bearing {them.}

COL 2:16-17 Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-- 17 things which are a {mere} shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

Lesson:

Beware of ritualism.

Donít let your worship be a hollow shell. Let it express your heart.

:16-25 Passover & Unleavened Bread

The Feasts

We're going to be looking at the major feast or "festivals" of the Jewish people.

These were important for several reasons:

1. They taught the people history.

The Passover was a yearly reminder of the historical event when God had delivered Israel out of Egypt.

2. They were opportunities to pass on the faith.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was a time of "cleaning out the leaven", removing not only leaven, but sin from our lives.

3. They brought the people together.

These feasts were often called "holy convocations"

4. They had prophetic importance.

COL 2:16-17 Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-- 17 things which are a {mere} shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

:16 Passover

The Passover was to commemorate every year how God mightily delivered Israel out of Egypt on the night when all the first born were slain, except in those houses that had blood on the door.

Jesus is our Passover.

:17 unleavened bread

This was a seven day feast to remember how the people didn't have time to sit around and use leaven to allow bread to rise, but had to eat unleavened bread when they fled out of Egypt.

For the practicing Jews, who take this very seriously, part of the ritual in preparing for this feast is to send your kids all through the house looking for leaven. The entire house must be leaven free! Part of the fun is to hide little packets of leaven for the kids to find, then to remove from the house, preparing you for the feast.

But there is greater significance to this feast as well.

Leaven in the Bible is often a picture of sin.

Leaven works by corruption. The yeast is actually causing a type of spoilage that creates gas, that rises the bread, etc.

Sin also brings corruption in our lives.

So the yearly feast of Unleavened Bread speaks about cleaning house not just physically, but spiritually as well.

Paul wrote about this to the Corinthians, because they had been allowing a man to fellowship with their church who was sleeping with his step-mom. He was doing it openly, and the church was acting very smug in how open and accepting they were. In counseling them to remove the man from their fellowship, Paul wrote,

(1 Cor 5:7-8 KJV) Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: {8} Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Paul's not talking about removing people who sin from church. We all do that. He's talking about people who claim to be Christians, yet openly and without any sense of regret, without any desire to change, flaunt their sin before everyone.

Lesson:

Clean house.

Keep your life pure before the Lord.

:18 holy convocation

Translation: Getting together for church!

:26-31 First Fruits (Feast of Weeks)

:26 first fruits ... weeks

This feast was called "First Fruits" because it celebrated the period when the harvest of the wheat crops would begin.

When you picked the first fruit from your field, you would turn and offer it up to God, recognizing who it was who gave you the fruit in the first place.

The feast was called "Weeks" because it was celebrated after a week of weeks (seven times seven days, or forty-nine days, plus one), on the fiftieth day after Passover. We also call it Pentecost (Fifty).

Historically

This is one of the few feasts that Biblically is not tied to a part of the history of Israel.

Later, Jewish tradition added that this was the day when Moses was given the Law of God on Mount Sinai.

Prophetically

A wonderful thing happened on the fiftieth day after the Real Passover, when Jesus' blood was spilt to cover our sins. God brought in the first Harvest of souls by sending the Holy Spirit on the people gathered together, and the church was born. Pentecost.