He Brought Him to Jesus
One of the two which heard John speak
, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41
He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. 42
And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
After spending the evening speaking to Jesus,
Andrew and John departed, convinced that they had met the Messiah. We cannot imagine the excitement that must have burned in them. This was the one that the prophets had spoken of, the one for whom the entire Jewish race had waited thousands of years. Andrew and John had had a lengthy personal visit with Him before most of the world knew He existed.
Andrew ran immediately to find his brother. There is no other response that anyone who meets the Messiah could have. This was his own brother, Simon (not a more distant relative as the word can imply). Andrew's action demonstrates his love for his brother. If we love anyone, we must tell him or her about Jesus. To remain silent is to consent to his or her condemnation. Simon was first on Andrew's list of people he wanted to tell.
"We have found the Messiah!" What an expression of faith! Andrew had just set himself up for ridicule, criticism, and scorn. What would Simon think about such a statement? Yet there was an air of confidence about Andrew that Simon could not resist. He was changed. His face reflected the joy of being able to bring this good news to his beloved brother.
"We have found the Messiah," which is interpreted in the Greek language as "Christed" and in English as the "Anointed." To the people in Ephesus the "Anointed" referred to a King, because kings had the divine right of anointing in almost every culture in the East. Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit instead of oil. Oil was normally used, but in all of the customs of the Jewish religion it was a symbolical representation of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was the King of Kings and was anointed with the full power of the Holy Spirit.
This was the man to whom Andrew brought his brother. "Simon, this is Jesus the Messiah, the Lamb of God." Andrew had only known Jesus a few hours, but already he was leading people to Him. He began with his own family, perhaps the most difficult to convince. How many are there in our churches who have never brought one person to Christ? How many have brought one person to Christ this year, or this week, or in the past twenty-four hours? It will be a sad time when God asks these so-called Christians how many souls they have led to Him. "Where is your joy?" He will ask. "Be gone for I never knew you!"
Jesus knew Peter. "Thou art Simon the son of Jona," he said when He saw him. Is that not another indication of who He was? Read Jeremiah 1:5, which says, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;" Jesus did not need an introduction. He was there when Simon was conceived and He formed him in his mother's womb.
Jesus also knew Simon's future. "Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone." Those who remain faithful to Christ will be given a new name. Jesus knew that Simon Peter would be a faithful disciple who would be martyred for the gospel's sake. He would tell thousands about Jesus with the same enthusiasm that Andrew displayed. So Jesus named him "stone" as a symbol of his solid faith.
We also have the promise of a new name. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it
." (Revelation of John 2:17) But this is only for those who have a zeal for Christ.
Before The Throne:
Pray for those whom you love. Have you brought them to Jesus? Seek the presence of God in your life so that you can witness with the same kind of zeal as Andrew demonstrated.
For Further Study:
** Andrew. Jn 6:8; Mt 4:18; 10:2; Ac 1:13;
** first. Jn 4:28,29; 2Ki 7:9; Isa 2:3-5; Lk 2:17,38; Ac 13:32,33; 1Jon 1:3; ** the Messias. Jn 4:25; Da 9:25,26; ** Christ. Ps 2:2; 45:7; 89:20; Isa 11:2; 61:1; Lk 4:18-21; Ac 4:27; 10:38; Heb 1:8,9;
** Thou art. Jn 2:24,25; 6:70,71; 13:18; ** the son. Jn 21:15-17; ** Jonas. Mt 16:17; ** Barjona. 1Co 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5; Ga 2:9; ** A stone. Jn 21:2; Mt 10:2; 16:18; Mr 3:16; Lk 5:8; 6:14;
Come and See
Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 36
And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! 37
And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38
Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? 39
He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.
John the Baptist's testimony is so important
to this book. It is the author's intent to establish beyond a doubt that Jesus is the Son of God. John the Baptist was an impartial witness who had seen and heard the truth from the very mouth of God the Father. His testimony forever changed the life of John the Apostle.
The next day, immediately after the events of the previous verses, John the Baptist and two of his disciples again saw Jesus walking by. One of these disciples was Andrew (See verse 40) and the other is most widely accepted to be John the Apostle. The reason that the second disciple is assumed to be John lies in the fact that he covers up his own identity throughout the book, and this disciple is never identified. Secondly, there is no other record in this book of John's call to be a disciple of Christ. And finally, he writes from this point forward as though he was an eyewitness to the events.
"Behold the Lamb of God," heard for the second time in as many days, must have pushed a button in the hearts of these two men. This Lamb of God was the Messiah about whom John had been telling them. He was the One who would baptize men with the Holy Ghost, and they hungered to know Him.
So they responded to John's preaching and followed Jesus Christ. This, as the Fourfold Gospel calls it, is "the fountainhead of Christianity". Everyone is called to have a relationship with Christ and to follow Him.
Jesus turned and asked them a simple question: "What do you want?" These are His first recorded words in the Gospel of John and they are so appropriate. He that gives all things to those that love Him asks, "What do you want?" Every Christian and minister of the gospel should take his lesson from these words. Jesus is always accessible to the people. He is sensitive to their needs and to the desires of their hearts. He derives His pleasure from His abundant giving.
This is the first question that anyone who comes seeking Christ should be asked. "What do you want from this relationship?" There are many reasons why people come, but there is only one acceptable reason, i.e. love. Our answer to the question may depend on how we would answer it in a more general sense. What do you want from your employment, your friends, your family, your possessions, your community or your church? Is it your desire to be a blessing to them, to glorify Christ in their eyes, and to pour the overflow of His love on them?
Andrew and John wanted to know the Messiah. Their answer to Him showed the respect for Him that they had learned from John the Baptist. Rabbi
was translated as Master
it was the educational equivalent of our Doctor.
"Where do you stay? Let's sit down and talk," is the essence of their answer. It was four o'clock in the afternoon and evening was near. It was the time of day when people often sat down to relax and have a conversation with family and friends. Andrew and John wanted to sit with Jesus and to learn more about Him. It is likely that they stayed the entire night. After all, who would want to leave the presence of the Lord Jesus?
Two lives were radically changed that day, because they followed Jesus. How many of us would have spent only a few minutes, because we had so much more to do that day? You may say, "Not I," but how much time did you spend with Him this week? He is still just as accessible. He is still saying, "Come and see."
He invites you to come and see where He lives, how He lives, and what work He has for you to do. He invites you into His house and into His fellowship. He was a stranger to Andrew and John, but they desired to know Him. Is He still a stranger to you?
Before The Throne:
Spend some extra time in prayer today. Ask yourself, "What do I want from my relationship with Christ?" If your time with God is not radically changing your life, you are not seeking Him as you should. Get to really know Him. Then, ask Him to grant you the grace of being accessible to others. Pray that you would be loving, accommodating, kind, gentle, and as eager to help others as Jesus was.
For Further Study:
** and two. Jn 3:25,26; Mal 3:16;
** Behold. Isa 45:22; 65:1,2; Heb 12:2; 1Pe 1:19,20;
** and they. Jn 4:39-42; Pr 15:23; Zec 8:21; Ro 10:17; Eph 4:29; Re 22:17;
** turned. Lu 14:25; 15:20; 19:5; 22:61; ** What. Jn 18:4,7; 20:15,16; Lu 7:24-27; 18:40,41; Ac 10:21,29; ** Rabbi. Jn 3:2,26; 6:25; Mt 23:7,8; ** where. Jn 12:21; Ru 1:16; 1Ki 10:8; Ps 27:4; Pr 3:18; 8:34; 13:20; So 1:7,8; Lu 8:38; 10:39;
** Come. Jn 6:37; 14:22,23; Pr 8:17; Mt 11:28-30; ** abode. Jo 4:40; Ac 28:30,31; Re 3:20; ** about. Lu 24:29;
Powered by the Spirit
And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33
And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34
And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
John the Baptist's testimony continues
in this passage by telling us what he saw at Jesus' baptism. Let's take a look at Matthew 3:16-17, which describes that event.
"And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Feeling unworthy of the task and not seeing any reason for the Messiah to need baptism for the remission of sins, John had been reluctant to baptize Jesus. However, upon honoring Jesus' request, he was given a look into heaven itself. He enjoyed a mind-boggling view of the Spirit of God descending from the seat of glory to light upon the Son of God. The vision was accompanied by the voice of the almighty Father, assuring him that this was His Son.
Whenever God wants to use one of us to accomplish His work, he gives us clear and unmistakable guidance. The experience that John the Baptist had when he baptized Jesus was one that he should never have forgotten. It was given to him so that he would never have to question Jesus' identity. It is evident that he recognized Jesus as the Messiah the very first time he set his eyes on Him, but God had told him that the descending of the Holy Spirit would be the proof. God's audible message was confirmation of that proof.
It is difficult to believe that John would later send his disciples to question Jesus' identity. (Luke 7:19) However, the flesh is weak and time will dim our memories, giving the wicked one an opportunity to introduce doubts and fear. According to Jesus, John was the greatest prophet (Luke 7:28), but he was still under the dominion of sin like every other man.
John's testimony was that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Ghost. He knew this, because he knew that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, the Holy One of Israel. John was filled with the Holy Spirit from birth (Luke 1:15) in preparation for his special assignment, but everyone else is baptized in the Holy Spirit when they receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
That is a moment in each Christian's life that should be as memorable as the day that John saw the Spirit descend upon Jesus. John said that he "saw and bare record." That is what every Christian is called to do. Perhaps it sounds like we keep saying the same old thing over and over, but that is the essence of the Christian's life. It is what we are... witnesses, and it is what we do... testify. Some of us preach, some teach, others sing, and many engage in one-on-one evangelism. We do it because we have experienced God's love and grace through Jesus Christ and the experience is so awesome that we must tell others. By the power of the same Spirit that descended upon Jesus, our testimony is effective in leading others to Him.
Before The Throne:
Can you remember that time when the Spirit first revealed the truth to you and you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Ask God to renew that awesome feeling that you experienced. Pray for the lost people in your life. Ask God to give you at least one person each day to whom you can be a witness. Make witnessing your greatest attribute.
For Further Study:
** I saw. Jo 5:32; Mt 3:16; Mr 1:10; Lu 3:22;
** I knew. Mt 3:13-15; ** the same. Jn 3:5,34; Mt 3:11,14; Mr 1:7,8; Lu 3:16; Ac 1:5; 2:4; 10:44-47; 11:15,16; 19:2-6; 1Co 12:13; Tit 3:5,6;
** this. Jn 3:16-18,35,36; 5:23-27; 6:69; 10:30,36; 11:27; 19:7; 20:28,31; Ps 2:7; 89:26,27; Mt 3:17; 4:3,6; 8:29; 11:27; 16:16; 17:5; 26:63; 27:40,43,54; Mr 1:1,11; Lu 1:35; 3:22; Ro 1:4; 2Co 1:19; Heb 1:1,2,5,6; 7:3; 1Jn 2:23; 3:8; 4:9,14,15; 5:9-13,20; 2Jn 1:9; Re 2:18;
Behold the Lamb!
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30
This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31
And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
The day after the Pharisees had questioned John,
Jesus came to him. Jesus had already been baptized by John and was returning from the wilderness where He had been tempted by the devil for forty days. He was ready to begin His ministry and so it was appropriate that He return to John who was sent to prepare the way for Him.
"Behold the Lamb of God!" John announced. This should have had special meaning to his Jewish listeners. Lambs were the most common sacrifice in the Jewish religion. They were sacrificed for the sin offering (Leviticus 4:32), for the cleansing of a leper (Leviticus 14:10), for the morning and evening sacrifices (Exodus 29:38), and each spring as the Passover sacrifice (Exodus 12:3-11), which was the precise time that Jesus was nailed to the cross.
The Messiah was prophesied in Isaiah 53:7 to be as a lamb led to the slaughter. This was the unmistakable word of God, yet the Jewish religious leaders failed to recognize the meaning of John's words, "Behold the Lamb!" They did not accept the concept of a suffering Messiah.
John did not describe Jesus as just any kind of Lamb, but as the Lamb of God. He was sent by God to fulfill the Law and the prophecies of scripture. He was sent by God to be the Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) whose blood would save God's people from death and the eternal bondage of sin. Jesus was God's offering for the sins of all men. He was the morning and evening sacrifice but He "was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." (Hebrews 9:28) His sacrifice was the last that was necessary.
John had not previously known Jesus, although the two were related. John grew up in the hill country of Judea, while Jesus lived in the town of Nazareth. Evidently the two did not have any contact until Jesus' baptism.
Now then, John was told by God to go and baptize people for the remissions of their sins. He knew nothing more except that the Messiah would be made known to Israel. This was a fact that was established in scriptures, and the time had come for its fulfillment.
The key to the success of John's ministry was his unwavering faith and obedience to God. He believed in the coming of the Messiah; he knew the scriptures concerning the Messiah; and he recognized that the mission of the Messiah was to be the sacrificial Lamb, which would take away the sins of the world.
Those things have been fulfilled. What John had to accept by faith, we now know by historical fact. Yet so many of us are still living lives far less committed to the Lamb of God than John's life was.
Before The Throne:
Commit your life to focus on the Lamb of God. This is the day of salvation and there is so much to do. Make certain of your own salvation. Then pray that God would use you in this wonderful work of reconciling the world to Him. Worship the Lamb with a song of praise. He has given your life a very special significance!
For Further Study:
** Behold. Ge 22:7,8; Ex 12:3-13; Nu 28:3-10; Isa 53:7; Ac 8:32; 1Pe 1:19; Re 5:6,8,12,13; 6:1,16; 7:9,10,14,17; 12:11; 13:8; 14:1,4,10; 15:3; 17:14; 19:7,9; 21:9,14,22,23,27; 22:1-3; ** which. Isa 53:11; Ho 14:2; Mt 20:28; Ac 13:39; 1Co 15:3; 2Co 5:21; Ga 1:4; 3:13; 1Ti 2:6; Tit 2:14; Heb 1:3; 2:17; 9:28; 1Pe 2:24; 3:18; 1Jn 2:2; 3:5; 4:10; Re 1:5; ** taketh. Ex 28:38; Le 10:17; 16:21,22; Nu 18:1,23;
** I knew. Lu 1:80; 2:39-42; but. Isa 40:3-5; Mal 3:1; 4:2-5; Lu 1:17,76-79;
therefore. Mt 3:6; Mr 1:3-5; Lu 3:3,4; Ac 19:4;Behold the Lamb!
Exalting The Savior
And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. 25
And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? 26
John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27
He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 28
These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.
The Sanhedrin was largely made up of members
of the pharisaic sect. It was the final authority on all matters of the religious law and would have sent some of their members to investigate John's religious innovations. The Pharisees in our passage were most likely the representatives of the Sanhedrin.
John was baptizing Jew and Gentile alike. It was the religious custom of that day for only Gentiles to be baptized before being circumcised and welcomed into the church. In order to change this custom John would have to show that he had divine authority. If he were the Messiah, he would naturally have that authority. They also believed that Elijah would be the one to make way for the Messiah and they could accept his authority. Of course, any prophet sent by God would also have authority to change the religious tradition. However, John claimed that he was none of those.
Therefore, John found himself to be in conflict with the laws. "Why baptizest thou then?" They wanted to know what authority he had to institute this baptism without the approval of the Sanhedrin.
John answered, saying that he only baptized with water. It was an outward and purely physical sign of a much greater baptism that was yet to come. The one who would institute the new baptism was already living among them and they did not know Him. (John 1:11) This is the person who came after John, but who existed before John. The heavenly Father preferred Him above all men. The Gospels of Mark and Matthew say that He was mightier than John.
John humbled himself with the statement that he was not worthy to latch Jesus' sandals. John's entire ministry exalted the Messiah. These things should have told the Pharisees that John was Elijah, that he was the voice crying in the wilderness, and that the one to come was the Messiah. However they seem to have been blinded to the truth.
Each of us should have our lives and our ministries so ordered that we humble ourselves and exalt our Savior. We are no longer preparing the way for Him as John did. Instead, we are preparing a kingdom of kings and priests that He will receive as His bride. Our ministry is to make His bride ready for the wedding by exalting the name of Jesus through worship, preaching, teaching, and discipleship.
Too many churches are more focused on the rituals and the sacraments than on the Savior. Too many require their members to do good works, while failing to teach them how to have a relationship with the Son of God. They preach a gospel that has no power, because it is dependent upon the actions of men. There is no difference between them and the Pharisees.
There is One coming who is mightier than all of these false sects. He has baptized His people with the Holy Ghost and with the purifying fire of tribulation. (Matthew 3:11) When He comes this time, He will be unknown. Every eye will see Him; every tongue shall confess Him; and every knee shall bow to Him.
Before The Throne:
Pray for those who do not know Jesus. Ask God to make your life the arrow that will point the way to Him. Examine your own life and ministry for areas where you could decrease and allow Him to increase. Pray that everything you do will exalt the Savior Jesus Christ. Seek God's righteousness, so that you will not bring disgrace to His name.
For Further Study:
** were of. Jn 3:1,2; 7:47-49; Mt 23:13-15,26; Lu 7:30; 11:39-44,53; 16:14; Ac 23:8; 26:5; Php 3:5,6;
** Why. Mt 21:23; Ac 4:5-7; 5:28; ** that Christ. Da 9:24-26;
** I. Mt 3:11; Mr 1:8; Lu 3:16; Ac 1:5; 11:16; ** whom. Jn 8:19; 16:3; 17:3,25; Mal 3:1,2; 1Jn 3:1;
** who. Ac 19:4; ** whose. Mt 3:11; Mr 1:7; Lu 3:16;
** Bethabara. Jn 10:40; Jud 7:24; ** Bethbarah. Jn 12:5; ** where. Jn 3:23;
Who Are You?
And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20
And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. 21
And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. 22
Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 23
He said, I am
the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
Now, this is the actual testimony of John the Baptist.
He appeared on the scene at a time when the Jewish people were feeling the pressures of Roman domination and were anxiously watching for the Messiah. They thought that the Messiah would lead them to victory over all of their worldly enemies and that they would dominate the world under His rule.
There had not been any prophets in Judaea for over five hundred years, until John appeared in the wilderness. However, he was not like the other prophets and he put a new face on the religion of the Jews. Although he was the son of a Levite priest, he did not dress like a priest, he did not teach in the temple, and he preached repentance from sin, even to those who thought themselves to be righteous. Additionally, he called for everyone to be baptized for the remission of sins, something which was previously only required of a new Gentile convert.
John's message was so powerful and authoritative that he gained great popularity and the people thought that he was the Messiah. Hence we find that, early in his ministry, the Jews (which probably refers to the Pharisees or the ruling Sanhedrin) sent some priests and Levites to question him about his identity. This was not out of the ordinary. They were the guardians of the faith, and it was their responsibility to investigate anyone who might have been trying to bring any kind of heresies into the church.
Their first task, of course, would have been to identify this new preacher. However they seemed to be more concerned with whom he was claiming to be than with his true identity. "Who are you? Are you the Christ?"
We are told that John was honest with them. He confessed to them and did not deny them an answer, but he confessed, saying, "I am not the Christ."
"Then who are you. Are you Elijah?"
They must have had in mind the passage from Malachi, which says, "But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4:2-6)
But, John denied that he was Elijah or that he was any other prophet. This was not a lie, even though Jesus said later that John was Elijah. The Pharisees believed in the literal return of the Prophet Elijah, whereas the scripture spoke figuratively. Instead, John explained that he was the one of whom the prophet Isaiah had spoken, the voice of the one crying in the wilderness. He was the one preparing the hearts of the people to receive the Messiah who would soon arrive.
We cannot help but think that there was already some jealousy burning in the hearts of the Jewish rulers. What would they have done if John had claimed to be the Messiah? Would they have treated him like they treated Jesus?
John was steadfast and honest in his approach to the ministry. He spoke with authority, and the people were drawn to him. This is the way God uses those who are faithful to Him. Look at how God has drawn the crowds of people to His more modern preachers like Billy Sunday or Billy Graham. He wants us to represent Him honestly and faithfully. He will do the rest.
Before The Throne:
Who are you?
Pray about that question. What role has God given you in the work of His kingdom? If you cannot clearly define who you are in Christ, how can you carry out your kingdom duties? How can you be obedient and faithful to your calling? Once you have your answer to that question, pray about how you will respond to that calling. John gave everything for his ministry, eventually losing his head for it. Will you need to prepare by going to school, by ridding yourself of worldly burdens and debts that hold you back, or by spending many hours in prayer and scripture study? Seek God's will and do it.
For Further Study:
** when. Jn 5:33-36; De 17:9-11; 24:8; Mt 21:23-32; Lu 3:15-18; ** Who. 10:24; Ac 13:25; 19:4;
Jn 3:28-36; Mt 3:11,12; Mr 1:7,8; Lu 3:15-17;
** Art thou Elias. Mal 4:5; Mt 11:14; 17:10-12; Lu 1:17; ** Art thou that. Jn 7:40; De 18:15-18; Mt 11:9-11; 16:14;
** that. 2Sa 24:13;
** I am. Jo 3:28; Mt 3:3; Mr 1:3; Lu 1:16,17,76-79; 3:4-6; ** as said. Isa 40:3-5;
Grace For Grace
John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16
And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17
For the law was given by Moses, but
grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him
John now returns to the testimony of John the Baptist.
He was the first to introduce Jesus to the world as the Messiah. John the Baptist was the messenger sent from God, and look at how he gave his testimony. He cried out, just as the scriptures had prophesied.
John was excited to see the One who was the whole focus and purpose of his ministry. "This is He of whom I spake!" He was the promised Redeemer, the One who would save His people. Although John went before Him to prepare the way, Jesus was the one to whom preference was given. John preferred Jesus above himself. He was the one who said that he was not fit to tie the laces on Jesus' sandals. "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30)
God sent John into the world before Jesus was born, but Jesus was the one preferred by God. John came first, but Jesus existed first. He was the Creator and sustainer of life, the eternal Word, and the Light of men.
It appears that, in verse 16, the apostle John leaves John the Baptist's testimony and continues with his own when he says, "...and of his fullness have all we received." This fullness is available to every Christian. It is the fullness of life, in which each of us finds a permanent significance; the fullness of joy, which our reconciliation with the Father brings to us; the fullness of hope, which we discover in the knowledge of the resurrection; and the fullness of grace, which is given through the forgiving of our sins.
We have received grace for grace. His grace is given to us for the sake of grace. It needs no other purpose and no other reason. Our God is love, and grace is an intricate part of love. We deserve nothing, yet He has given us all things. Every day is a new gift. Every day is full of His blessings. One grace follows upon another in a never ending stream. Grace upon grace pours from the fullness of Christ.
And His grace poured into us should produce more grace. His people love even their enemies, displaying the fullness of grace that they learn from their Savior. His grace flows through millions of Christians around the globe as they feed the hungry, give shelter to the homeless, evangelize the lost, and bring hope to a dying world. Grace and truth... Jesus Christ our Lord gave them to the world. The Law of Moses was given by God's grace, but Jesus Christ is the grace that fulfills the law and He is the truth that sets men free from its consequences.
What then are the credentials of Jesus Christ? He is the only one who has ever seen the Father; He is His only begotten Son; He sits this very minute on His throne at the Father's right hand; and it is God Himself who declares Jesus to be His Son. "And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me." (John 5:37)
Before The Throne:
How have you responded to God's grace? Is it producing more grace in you? Confess your failure to show grace toward others. Pray for your enemies. Praise Him for the multitude of blessings that He is pouring out on you each day... grace upon grace. Ask God, "Who needs to experience Your grace today, Lord?" Ask Him how you should deliver it to them. Then worship Him by doing what He leads you to do.
For Further Study:
** bare. Jn 3:26-36; 5:33-36; Mt 3:11,13-17; Mr 1:7; Lu 3:16; ** he was. Jn 8:58; 17:5; Pr 8:22; Isa 9:6; Mic 5:2; Php 2:6,7; Col 1:17; Heb 13:8; Re 1:11,17,18; 2:8;
** of his. Jn 3:34; 15:1-5; Mt 3:11,14; Lu 21:15; Ac 3:12-16; Ro 8:9; 1Co 1:4,5; Eph 4:7-12; Col 1:19; 2:3,9,10; 1Pe 1:11; ** and grace. Zec 4:7; Mt 13:12; Ro 5:2,17,20; Eph 1:6-8; 2:5-10; 4:7; 1Pe 1:2;
** the law. Jn 5:45; 9:29; Ex 20:1-17; De 4:44; 5:1; 33:4; Ac 7:38; 28:23; Ro 3:19,20; 5:20,21; 2Co 3:7-10; Ga 3:10-13,17; Heb 3:5,6; 8:8-12; ** grace. Jn 8:32; 14:6; Ge 3:15; 22:18; Ps 85:10; 89:1,2; 98:3; Mic 7:20; Lu 1:54,55,68-79; Ac 13:34-39; Ro 3:21-26; 5:21; 6:14; 15:8-12; 2Co 1:20; Heb 9:22; 10:4-10; 11:39,40; Re 5:8-10; 7:9-17;
** seen. Jn 6:46; Ex 33:20; De 4:12; Mt 11:27; Lu 10:22; Col 1:15; 1Ti 1:17; 1Ti 6:16; 1Jn 4:12,20; ** the only. Jn 3:16-18; 1Jn 4:9; ** in the. Jn 13:23; Pr 8:30; Isa 40:11; La 2:12; Lu 16:22,23; ** he hath. Jn 12:41; 14:9; 17:6,26; Ge 16:13; 18:33; 32:28-30; 48:15,16; Ex 3:4-6; Ex 23:21; 33:18-23; 34:5-7; Nu 12:8; Jos 5:13-15; 6:1,2; Jud 6:12-26; 13:20-23; Isa 6:1-3; Eze 1:26-28; Ho 12:3-5; Mt 11:27; Lu 10:22; 1Jn 5:20;
The Feast of Tabernacles
12 And on the fifteenth day of the seventh month ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work, and ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: 13 And ye shall offer a burnt offering, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD; thirteen young bullocks, two rams, [and] fourteen lambs of the first year; they shall be without blemish: 14 And their meat offering [shall be of] flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals unto every bullock of the thirteen bullocks, two tenth deals to each ram of the two rams, 15 And a several tenth deal to each lamb of the fourteen lambs: 16 And one kid of the goats [for] a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, his meat offering, and his drink offering. 17 And on the second day [ye shall offer] twelve young bullocks, two rams, fourteen lambs of the first year without spot: 18 And their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, [shall be] according to their number, after the manner: 19 And one kid of the goats [for] a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, and the meat offering thereof, and their drink offerings. 20 And on the third day eleven bullocks, two rams, fourteen lambs of the first year without blemish; 21 And their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, [shall be] according to their number, after the manner: 22 And one goat [for] a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, and his meat offering, and his drink offering. 23 And on the fourth day ten bullocks, two rams, [and] fourteen lambs of the first year without blemish: 24 Their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, [shall be] according to their number, after the manner: 25 And one kid of the goats [for] a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, his meat offering, and his drink offering. 26 And on the fifth day nine bullocks, two rams, [and] fourteen lambs of the first year without spot: 27 And their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, [shall be] according to their number, after the manner: 28 And one goat [for] a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, and his meat offering, and his drink offering. 29 And on the sixth day eight bullocks, two rams, [and] fourteen lambs of the first year without blemish: 30 And their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, [shall be] according to their number, after the manner: 31 And one goat [for] a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, his meat offering, and his drink offering. 32 And on the seventh day seven bullocks, two rams, [and] fourteen lambs of the first year without blemish: 33 And their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, [shall be] according to their number, after the manner: 34 And one goat [for] a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, his meat offering, and his drink offering. 35 On the eighth day ye shall have a solemn assembly: ye shall do no servile work [therein]: 36 But ye shall offer a burnt offering, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD: one bullock, one ram, seven lambs of the first year without blemish: 37 Their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullock, for the ram, and for the lambs, [shall be] according to their number, after the manner: 38 And one goat [for] a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, and his meat offering, and his drink offering. 39 These [things] ye shall do unto the LORD in your set feasts, beside your vows, and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings, and for your meat offerings, and for your drink offerings, and for your peace offerings. 40 And Moses told the children of Israel according to all that the LORD commanded Moses.
On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, the eight day Feast of Tabernacles was to begin. The people of Israel were commanded to move out of their homes and to live in tents or booths to commemorate their years of freedom when they wandered in the wilderness. The feast also coincided with the time of the fall harvest. Furthermore it followed just 5 days after the Day of Atonement, which represented the judgment of the Lord. The first and eighth days of Tabernacles were the sixth and seventh annual Sabbaths of the Lord.
You might notice that, on the first day of the feast, there were thirteen young bullocks sacrificed and, on each succeeding day there was one less bullock sacrificed than the day before ending with the seventh day. In all, 70 bullocks were sacrificed, and the number of lambs and rams that were sacrificed each day were double those of any other feast day. The eighth day had the typical sacrifices of any other annual feast day.
"The Jewish doctors give this reason for the daily diminution of the number of the bullocks: the whole number, say they, was according to the languages of the seventy nations of the world; and the diminution of one every day signified, that there should be a gradual diminution of those nations till all things were brought under the government of the Messiah; in whose days "no sacrifices shall remain, but those of thanksgiving, prayer, and praise." (Treasury of Scripture Knowledge.) Peoples from every nation were invited to come to Jerusalem and celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles with Israel.
Zechariah 14:16 prophesied, saying, "And it shall come to pass, [that] every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles." The Feast of Tabernacles represents the joyous celebration that shall take place after the Lord returns and executes judgment upon the nations. It was, indeed, the most joyous celebration on Israel's calendar.
Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible says, "The diminishing number of bullocks sacrificed on the preceding days of the Feast (compare Num 29:13, Num 29:17, etc.), is adjusted simply to obtain the coincidence before us on the seventh day; but some have thought that the gradual evanescence of the Law until the time of its absorption in the Gospel is here presignified in the Law itself." For more on this feast see Leviticus 23:34-44.
The Feast of Tabernacles was the last of the annual feasts. "Altogether, the sacrifices commanded at these feasts totaled 1071 lambs, 113 Bulls, 37 rams, 30 goats, 112-bushels of flour, about 370 gallons of oil, and about 340 gallons of wine. Besides these, any individuals or families could offer spontaneous or votive offerings unto the Lord." (College Press) This does not count the daily sacrifices that had to be made or the sacrifices that were made by individuals for their sins offerings and peace offerings. Sin is a very common human activity and the forgiveness of it is also very expensive. We have a tendency to forget the cost, because our Savior paid it all for us. May we not become as spoiled brats and continue living as we did in our former lives.
Before The Throne:
Rejoice! And again I say rejoice. Jesus loves you. He is coming again to gather you unto Himself. Make your time with Him today a time of thanksgiving and praise. Pray that the day in which every nation will go to Jerusalem to worship Him will come soon. Pray for peace on earth. Pray for those who do not have the joy of knowing that Jesus is coming for them. Seek God's will for your role in His plan of salvation.
For Further Study:
(v.12) ** the fifteenth day. Exod 23:16; Exod 34:22; Lev 23:33-43; Deut 16:13-14; Neh 8:14, 18; Ezek 45:25; Zech 14:16-19; John 1:14; Heb 11:9-13;
(v.13) ** thirteen young bullocks. Num 29:2, 8; Num 28:11, 19, 27; Ezra 3:4; Heb 10:12-14;
(v.17) ** Num 29:13, 20-40; Ps 40:6; Ps 50:8-9; Ps 51:16-17; Ps 69:31; Isa 1:11; Jer 7:22-23; Hos 6:6; Rom 12:1; Heb 8:13; Heb 9:3-14;
(v.18) ** after the manner. Num 29:3-4, 6, 9-10; Num 15:4-12; Num 28:7, 14;
(v.19) ** Num 29:11, 22, 25; Amos 8:14;
(v.22) ** drink offering. Ps 16:4; Joel 1:9, 13; Joel 2:14;
(v.25) ** Num 29:11; John 8:31; Acts 13:43; Rom 2:7; Gal 2:5; Gal 6:9; 2Thess 3:13; Heb 3:14; Heb 10:39; Heb 13:15;
(v.35) ** eighth day. Lev 23:36; John 7:37-39; Rev 7:9-17;
(v.39) ** do. Lev 23:2; 1Chr 23:31; 2Chr 31:3; Ezra 3:5; Neh 10:33; Isa 1:14; ** beside your vows. Num 6:21; Lev 7:11, 16-38; Lev 22:21-23; Lev 23:28; Deut 12:6; 1Cor 10:31;
(v.40) ** Exod 40:16; Deut 4:5; Matt 28:20; Acts 20:27; 1Cor 15:3; Heb 3:2, 5;
7 And ye shall have on the tenth [day] of this seventh month an holy convocation; and ye shall afflict your souls: ye shall not do any work [therein]: 8 But ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD [for] a sweet savour; one young bullock, one ram, [and] seven lambs of the first year; they shall be unto you without blemish: 9 And their meat offering [shall be of] flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals to a bullock, [and] two tenth deals to one ram, 10 A several tenth deal for one lamb, throughout the seven lambs: 11 One kid of the goats [for] a sin offering; beside the sin offering of atonement, and the continual burnt offering, and the meat offering of it, and their drink offerings.
The fifth annual Sabbath on the Lord's calendar follows the blowing of trumpets by 10 days. The trumpets sound the warning of God's coming judgment. The judgment comes on what is called the Day of Atonement. As with the other days in this series, our scripture does not intend to describe the manner in which the Day of Atonement was to be celebrated, but only lists the offerings that are to be made. The serious student should read Leviticus 16 for a complete understanding of this day.
It was a day on which the people were to "afflict their souls." Dr. Peter Pett wrote, "...although we are never told in what way. On this day they were to ‘afflict themselves’. This probably represented some form of indicating penitence, although we are not told what it was. It may have been the loosening of the hair, the ritual tearing of clothes, and the covering of the upper lip (Lev 13:45)." Most commentators believe that it was a day of fasting, but that seems odd since most of the sacrifices were supposed to be eaten.
The offerings for the Day of Atonement were the same as those made during the Feast of Trumpets. However, the ceremony clearly typified God's judgment of the whole earth. Leviticus 16:8-10 calls for two goats to be used. "And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD'S lot fell, and offer him [for] a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, [and] to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness."
The name for the goat that was led into the wilderness, "scapegoat," is not a good rendering. The true meaning is unknown and this is the only place in scripture where the word is used. The Illustrated Bible Dictionary has this: "Lev. 16:8-26; R.V., 'the goat for Azazel' (q.v.), the name given to the goat which was taken away into the wilderness on the day of Atonement (16:20-22). The priest made atonement over the scapegoat, laying Israel's guilt upon it, and then sent it away, the goat bearing 'upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited.'
"At a later period an evasion or modification of the law of Moses was introduced by the Jews. "The goat was conducted to a mountain named Tzuk, situated at a distance of ten Sabbath days' journey, or about six and a half English miles, from Jerusalem. At this place the Judean desert was supposed to commence; and the man in whose charge the goat was sent out, while setting him free, was instructed to push the unhappy beast down the slope of the mountain side, which was so steep as to insure the death of the goat, whose bones were broken by the fall. The reason of this barbarous custom was that on one occasion the scapegoat returned to Jerusalem after being set free, which was considered such an evil omen that its recurrence was prevented for the future by the death of the goat" (Twenty-one Years' Work in the Holy Land). This mountain is now called el-Muntar."
Obviously, the goat that was slaughtered for the offering represented Jesus who died for our sins. The other goat, which was led into land uninhabited and desolate and then pushed over the cliff seems to represent Satan. The one that died on the altar died for the church the other, which was cast into darkness, represented the unbelievers.
This ceremony reminds us of when Jesus said, "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth [his] sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed [thee]? or thirsty, and gave [thee] drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took [thee] in? or naked, and clothed [thee]? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." (Matthew 25:32-46)
There is a day of judgment coming. It is a Day when not only the sins of the church will be considered paid in full, but also when the sins of the rest of the world will have to be paid. The wages of sin is death, everlasting punishment. Are you ready?
Before The Throne:
Make your salvation certain. Examine your own love for Christ and ask yourself whether it is a true and complete love. He will accept no other. Then, pray for the lost around you. Ask the Lord to send you those whose hearts have been prepared by the Holy Spirit to hear the gospel message. Pray that He would give you the words that they need to hear before that great day of judgment arrives.
For Further Study:
(v.7) ** on the tenth. Lev 16:29-31; Lev 23:27; ** afflict. Lev 16:29; Ezra 8:21; Ps 35:13; Ps 126:5-6; Isa 22:12; Isa 58:3-5; Zech 7:3; Zech 12:10; Matt 5:4; Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 27:9; Rom 6:6; 1Cor 9:27; 2Cor 7:9-11; Jas 4:8-10;
(v.8 ) ** without blemish. Num 29:2, 13; Num 28:19;
(v.9) ** 15:3-12;
(v.11) ** beside. Lev 16:3, 5, 9; Isa 53:10; Dan 9:24-26; Heb 7:27; Heb 9:25-28; ** the continual. Num 29:6; Num 28:3-8;
The Blowing of Trumpets
1 And in the seventh month, on the first [day] of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you. 2 And ye shall offer a burnt offering for a sweet savour unto the LORD; one young bullock, one ram, [and] seven lambs of the first year without blemish: 3 And their meat offering [shall be of] flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals for a bullock, [and] two tenth deals for a ram, 4 And one tenth deal for one lamb, throughout the seven lambs: 5 And one kid of the goats [for] a sin offering, to make an atonement for you: 6 Beside the burnt offering of the month, and his meat offering, and the daily burnt offering, and his meat offering, and their drink offerings, according unto their manner, for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD.
The seventh month of the ecclesiastical year was called Tisri after the Babylonian captivity. It was the first month of the Babylonian Calendar, and thus the first day of it has been celebrated as the New Year's Day by the Jews ever since they returned from the seventy year captivity. However, God intended it to have a religious significance and more solemn character. It was the month during which there would be more sacred feasts than at any other time of the year.
The first day of the seventh month was designated as another of the seven annual Sabbaths. No work was to be done on that day. The special offering that was to be made on that day was in addition to the traditional offering for the new moon. Therefore the total offerings from that day are as follows, " (1) a yearling lamb in the morning and evening, with their meat-offering and drink-offering; (2) in the morning, after the daily sacrifice, the ordinary new moon's sacrifice, consisting of two bullocks, one ram, and seven yearling lambs, with their corresponding meat-offerings and drink-; (3) the sin-offering of the he-goat, together with the burnt-offering of one bullock, one ram, and seven yearling lambs, with their proper meat-offerings and drink-offerings,..." (Copied from the Keil and Delitzsch Commentary)
On the first day, there was to be a blowing of trumpets. There were different signals that could be blown on the trumpets as a means of communicating to the multitudes of the people of Israel. Easton's Illustrated Bible Dictionary explains that trumpets "were of a great variety of forms, and were made of divers materials. Some were made of silver (Num. 10:2), and were used only by the priests in announcing the approach of festivals and in giving signals of war. Some were also made of rams' horns (Josh. 6:8). They were blown at special festivals, and to herald the arrival of special seasons (Lev. 23:24; 25:9; 1 Chr. 15:24; 2 Chr. 29:27; Ps. 81:3; 98:6)."
Traditionally, the ram's horn was blown on this day, although there is nothing in scripture to specify which type was to be used. Many Christian and Jewish scholars trivialize this day by calling it a new year celebration. But we have to ask, "Why God would have instructed them to celebrate the new year in the seventh month when He had already designated the month of Abib to be the first month of the year?" It has much greater significance than that.
Since we have already seen the significance of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread and how they have had a prophetic fulfillment in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, does it not follow that the other annual Sabbaths should have similar prophetic significance? One of the uses of the ram's horn was to announce the coming judgment of the LORD. Read Joshua 6 to see how the priests with seven rams horns went before the ark of the covenant as the people of Israel marched around the wall of Jericho. When the horns were blown and the people shouted, the walls of the city fell inward and Israel conquered the city.
The next holy day on the ecclesiastical calendar is the Day of Atonement, the time of judgment. We will study it next. However, the one thing to which the modern church is looking forward is the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, a day of judgment. That day will be announced by the blowing of seven trumpets (Rev 8:2), and at the last trumpet (1 Cor 15:52; 1 Thess 4:16) the archangel shall shout and the church will rise to meet the Lord in the clouds.
Should the church be trivializing these special holy days that were appointed by God Himself? I certainly do not want to be legalistic about the topic, but certainly our love for the Lord ought to compel us to take His word more seriously. Would it harm us to keep these feasts out of love, honor and respect for His word? Doing so would certainly help us to stay focused on who we are and on the coming of the Lord Jesus.
Before The Throne:
Are you ready? Jesus asked His disciples, "...when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" Pray about your own faithfulness. Have you made yourself a living sacrifice unto Him? Ask God to show you what more you can do to serve Him until He returns.
For Further Study:
(v.1) ** blowing. Num 10:1-10; 1Chr 15:28; Ps 81:3; Ps 89:15; Isa 27:13; Zech 9:14; Mark 16:15-16; Rom 10:14-18; Rom 15:16-19;
(v.2) ** Num 29:8,36; Num 28:19,27; Heb 10:10-14
(v.5) ** Num 28:15,22,30
(v.6) ** the burnt. 28:11-15; ** the daily. Num 28:3-8; Exod 29:38-42; Lev 6:9; ** according. Num 29:18, 21; Num 9:14; Num 15:11, 12, 24; Ezra 3:4;
The Day of Firstfruits
26 Also in the day of the firstfruits, when ye bring a new meat offering unto the LORD, after your weeks [be out], ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: 27 But ye shall offer the burnt offering for a sweet savour unto the LORD; two young bullocks, one ram, seven lambs of the first year; 28 And their meat offering of flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals unto one bullock, two tenth deals unto one ram, 29 A several tenth deal unto one lamb, throughout the seven lambs; 30 [And] one kid of the goats, to make an atonement for you. 31 Ye shall offer [them] beside the continual burnt offering, and his meat offering, (they shall be unto you without blemish) and their drink offerings.
The day of firstfruits is the same as Pentecost (Acts 2:1). It occurs fifty days after the Passover and thus the name Pentecost. The day falls in the season when Israel would be reaping the firstfruits of their wheat harvest. It is another of the seven annual Sabbaths proclaimed by the LORD.
The law governing it is found in Leviticus 23. The phrase, "after your weeks be out," refers to the seven weekly Sabbaths that are between the Passover and the day of firstfruits. The time was calculated from the weekly Sabbath that fell during the celebration of the feast of unleavened bread when the wave offering was brought before the LORD. Seven more Sabbaths would be completed and, on the first day of the week after the seventh Sabbath, the day of the firstfruits was celebrated.
Leviticus 23:15, 21 "And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:... And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, [that] it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work [therein: it shall be] a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations."
The first day of firstfruits is traditionally thought to have occurred when the children of Israel accepted God's covenant at Mount Sinai. Thus, it marked the firstfruits of God's people joining in fellowship with Him. In the second chapter of the book of Acts, we can observe that Pentecost was the day when the church began to form. It was the firstfruits of God's New Testament church.
Every one of the seven annual Sabbaths given to Israel by the Lord has a New Testament fulfillment. They should not be overlooked. We have seen how three of the annual Sabbaths have already been fulfilled, but the other four have an eschatological significance. Unfortunately, the modern church has failed to teach these things, and the beauty and wonder of God's sovereign work has been diminished proportionally.
The offerings that the LORD commanded Israel to make on the day of the firstfruits was the same as the offering for the New Moon offering. However, there is an unexplained discrepancy between the offering commanded here and the one commanded in Leviticus 23:18. Here there are two young bullocks to be offered, while in Leviticus only one was offered. Here, only one ram is offered, but in Leviticus two rams are offered. There has been no acceptable explanation for this discrepancy. Some have suggested that during the wanderings in the wilderness Israel could not raise enough bullocks so the Lord substituted an extra ram. But now, as they were preparing to enter the land of Canaan, they would be able to raise more bullocks and sacrifice two. Other scholars have suggested that there was a copyist's error, but all of our manuscripts seem to agree with one another, even the Septuagint has the same numbers.
The fact is, however, that the day of Pentecost is an incredible marker for the remembrance of God's blessings. On that first Pentecost in Acts, the harvest was great; the gospel was shared with people from all over the world, and the church grew quicker than anyone could have imagined. It is a day that we should remember every year with the sacrifice of praise.
Before The Throne:
Every day should be a day for giving thanks for the great harvest of the Lord. Today, the areas where the church is growing the fastest are those inhabited by Muslims. They are coming to Christ by a powerful working of the Holy Spirit. Take the time to thank the Lord for what He is doing. Ask Him to use you to continue bringing in the harvest and pray for more laborers to join you.
For Further Study:
(v.26) ** in the day. Exod 23:16; Exod 34:22; Lev 23:10; Lev 23:15-21; Deut 16:9-11; Acts 2:1-13; 1Cor 15:20; Jas 1:18;
(v.27) ** two young. Num 28:11, 19; Lev 23:18-19 ;
(v.30) ** Num 28:15, 22; Num 15:24; 2Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13; 1Pet 2:24; 1Pet 3:18;
(v.31) ** without blemish. Num 28:19; Mal 1:13-14;
The Holiest Season
16 And in the fourteenth day of the first month [is] the passover of the LORD. 17 And in the fifteenth day of this month [is] the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. 18 In the first day [shall be] an holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work [therein]: 19 But ye shall offer a sacrifice made by fire [for] a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, and seven lambs of the first year: they shall be unto you without blemish: 20 And their meat offering [shall be of] flour mingled with oil: three tenth deals shall ye offer for a bullock, and two tenth deals for a ram; 21 A several tenth deal shalt thou offer for every lamb, throughout the seven lambs: 22 And one goat [for] a sin offering, to make an atonement for you. 23 Ye shall offer these beside the burnt offering in the morning, which [is] for a continual burnt offering. 24 After this manner ye shall offer daily, throughout the seven days, the meat of the sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD: it shall be offered beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering. 25 And on the seventh day ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work.
Because the months were calculated according to the new moon and contained only 29 or 30 days alternatively, the first month of the Hebrew sacred calendar roughly corresponds to our March-April. The first month was named Abib, which was changed after the Babylonian exile to Nisan. However, it was more common to refer to the months by their number. This should not be confused with the Jewish secular calendar, which began in the seventh month.
Abib was the month in which Israel came out of Egypt. The fourteenth day of that month was the day of the passover. At midnight all the firstborn males of Egypt were killed. It must be noted that this is not "the Jewish passover" as it is frequently called. It is the "Passover of the LORD." A fact that is mostly ignored by the modern church, as is the day itself.
The law for the observance of the Passover was given in detail in Exodus 12:1-51, so it was not necessary to repeat it here. The paschal lamb that was sacrificed on that day was typical of our Lord Jesus Christ who was killed on the Passover around the same time that the lambs would have been killed and prepared for the Passover meal. "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: 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." (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)
On the fifteenth day of the month, Israel left Egypt. Since they did not have time to prepare bread for their journey, they made unleavened bread. Thus, the feast of unleavened bread was to commence on that day and they were to purge all leavening from their homes and food. The fifteenth day of Abib is the first of seven annual sabbaths declared by the LORD. No work was to be done on that day, and the same sacrifices as those of the new moon were to be made on each of the seven days of the feast in addition to the continual burnt offering. The twenty-first day of the month, the seventh and final day of the feast, was designated as another annual sabbath. No work was to be done on that day.
The week long feast was to remind the people of Israel what God had done for them. If we count the weekly Sabbath, that week normally had three sabbath days and was therefore a time of drawing close to the Lord. It is typical of the modern church, who are saved by the Passover sacrifice of the Lamb of God, are pilgrims and sojourners in this world and waiting to be brought into the land of promise and into God's rest. Everyday should be a day for purging out the old leaven of malice and wickedness and for drawing closer to our Savior.
Before The Throne:
Give thanks for the paschal Lamb of God. Ask the Lord to purge you of any malice or wickedness that is found in you. Study Exodus 12:1-51 and pray about the meaning of it for you. Tell others about the Passover of the LORD and its meaning. Ask the Lord to bring back the tradition of celebrating His Passover.
For Further Study:
(v.16) ** Num 9:3-5; Exod 12:2-11, 18, 43-49; Lev 23:5-8; Deut 16:1-8; Ezek 45:21-24; Matt 26:2, 17; Luke 22:7, 8; Acts 12:3-4; 1Cor 5:7-8;
(v.17) ** Exod 12:15-17; Exod 13:6; Lev 23:6;
(v.18) ** Exod 12:16; Lev 23:7-8;
(v.19) ** two young. Eze 45:21-25; ** they shall. Num 28:31; Num 29:8; Lev 22:20; Deut 15:21; Mal 1:13-14; 1Pet 1:19;
(v.23) ** two young. Eze 45:21-25; ** they shall. Num 28:31; Num 29:8; Lev 22:20; Deut 15:21; Mal 1:13-14; 1Pet 1:19;
(v.25) ** on the seventh. Exod 12:16; Exod 13:6; Lev 23:8; ** ye shall do. Num 28:18, 26; Num 29:1, 12, 35; Lev 23:3, 8, 21, 25, 35-36;
11 And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot; 12 And three tenth deals of flour [for] a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one bullock; and two tenth deals of flour [for] a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one ram; 13 And a several tenth deal of flour mingled with oil [for] a meat offering unto one lamb; [for] a burnt offering of a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD. 14 And their drink offerings shall be half an hin of wine unto a bullock, and the third [part] of an hin unto a ram, and a fourth [part] of an hin unto a lamb: this [is] the burnt offering of every month throughout the months of the year. 15 And one kid of the goats for a sin offering unto the LORD shall be offered, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.
This is the law of the offerings to be made on the new moons. There is much in scripture about the celebration of the new moon at the beginning of each month, but there is little to explain the significance of that day. Isaiah 66:23 tells us that it was a day of worship. "And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD."
The College Press explains its purpose as well as anyone. "The true purpose of the day was to bring in remembrance before God those sins committed during the month for which pardon had not been received, and to renew their life-covenant with the Lord through the burnt offering. Blowing the silver trumpets proclaimed the congregation of the people (see Num. 10:10) to bring the prayers of the people unto the Lord through the sacrifices, and to invoke His merciful pardon and a renewal of His grace. Thus the people were regularly and often reminded that their very lives were spared by such grace, and that to take such kindness for granted would be a mark of impiety and ingratitude."
And Matthew Henry pointed out that, "...besides the special sacrifices which were then to be offered, they rested from servile works (Amos viii. 5), blew the trumpets (ch. x. 10), and went to the prophets to hear the word? 2 Kings iv. 23. And the worship performed in the new moons is made typical of gospel solemnities, Isa. lxvi. 23." (MHC)
The offering made on the day of the new moon was a much more expensive one than those made for the continual offering or for the Sabbaths. Two calves, one ram, seven perfect lambs and a kid goat were to be offered in addition to the daily burnt offerings. (See verses 1-8) The meat offering was also increased proportionally, three tenth deals of flour for an ox bull, two tenths for a ram, and one tenth for each he-lamb. The Hebrew word that is rendered as "deal" literally means "part." Thus it means, "three tenth parts of an ephah." The Holman Christian Standard Bible translates verses 12-13, "...with six quarts of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering for each bull, four quarts of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering for the ram, and two quarts of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering for each lamb. It is a burnt offering, a pleasing aroma, a fire offering to the LORD."
Likewise the drink offering is also proportional... 2 quarts of strong wine for each bullock, one and a half quarts for each ram and one quart for each lamb. The sin offering (Num 15:22-26) of one kid goat, although it is mentioned last, was probably offered first.
While it would seem that the offerings of the day and Sabbath would be more than enough to atone for the sins of men, we can see from this that they were not sufficient. On the first day of each month, offerings were made to cover sins that had not been atoned for throughout the past month. Just the animals that were sacrificed on the day of the new moon total 156 animals each year. Can you calculate the number of animals sacrificed each year for all of the continual offerings, sin offerings, Sabbath offerings, monthly offerings and annual feast offerings?
More than a thousand animals were sacrificed each year to make atonement for the sins of the people and yet it could never be sufficient to pay for all their sins. Sin is rebellion against God, a rebellion that all of us have committed, and there is nothing that anyone can do to make up for that. Praise the LORD for sending His dear Son whose one time sacrifice was sufficient to cover all of our sins for eternity.
Before The Throne:
Because Jesus has made a substitutionary atonement for all of our sins, those who believe in Him are without sin. However, we should not consider ourselves free to live a sinful life. Ask the Lord to show you where you fall short of living a sinless life and to help you be more like Christ. Pray that others would see the change in you and would desire the same joy and liberty. Ask Him to use you to glorify His name.
For Further Study:
(v.11) ** in the beginnings. Num 10:10; Num 15:3-11; 1Sam 20:5; 2Kgs 4:23; 1Chr 23:31; 2Chr 2:4; Ezra 3:5; Neh 10:33; Ps 40:6, 8; Ps 81:3; Isa 1:13; Isa 1:14; Isa 66:23; Ezek 45:17-18; Ezek 46:1, 6; Hos 2:11; Amos 3:5; Gal 4:10; Col 2:6, 16; ** two young. Num 28:19; Heb 10:10-14;
(v.12) ** Num 15:4-12; Num 29:10; Ezek 46:5-7;
(v.15) ** one kid. Num 28:22; Num 15:24; Lev 4:23; Lev 16:15; Rom 8:3; 2Cor 5:21; ** beside. Num 28:3, 10-11;
Keep It Holy
9 And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour [for] a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof: 10 [This is] the burnt offering of every sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.
While Israel was in Egypt, it is possible that her people had completely lost track of the Sabbath day. They functioned under a different calendar, they were forced to labor whenever their heathen slave masters ordered it and they were there for 450 years. Many generations had come and gone under the Egyptian culture. When they left Egypt, God made certain that they would not forget His Sabbath. The manna fell from heaven six days of the week, but not on the Sabbath day. The people would have to prepare for the Sabbath by collecting enough food on the sixth day to sustain them over the seventh.
Then, while they were at Mt Sinai, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments among which was the fourth that said, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates:
For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." (Exodus 20:8-11)
When Israel would enter the promised land, it is highly possible that the Sabbath day could easily be forgotten or neglected. There would be no more manna from heaven, no noticeable pause in the food supply, no need to get the work done on the sixth day and rest on the seventh. However, it was the duty of the priests to see that the proper offerings were made each Sabbath day and , thus, to call for a holy convocation.
The daily burnt offering was to be doubled on the Sabbath. Two more lambs for a total of four were to be offered on that day along with their respective meat and drink offerings. It was a day to be set aside to remember that God was the Creator of all things, the supreme and sovereign ruler of His creation, and that we are but a small part of that creation that has turned bad.
The Sabbath day has been lost again. I know that there are sound biblical arguments for the insistence that Saturday is the Sabbath and not Sunday, and I agree with them. However, I am not going to make that argument, because, if God's people sincerely believe that He wants them to keep the first day of the week as the Sabbath, I can accept that so long as they live by it. Whatsoever is done out of faith is acceptable to God. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
However, when I say that the Sabbath has been lost, I mean that most people do not observe any day as the Sabbath and keep it holy. One or two hours in church does not make the entire day holy. It should be a day when we double our commitment to the Lord, present our lives as living sacrifices to Him and separate ourselves from the things of the world. Admittedly, that is difficult to do in this rapid paced culture in which we have to live. Many Christians are forced to work on the seventh or first day of the week, making it impossible to keep a day for worship and communion with God.
There is no condemnation for this, but there is a chastening to be had. Such a chastening is becoming ever more apparent as we see ourselves slipping away from God in our daily lives, which is directly related to Sabbath breaking. The whole nation is beginning to slide in the wrong direction. It is being led by people who hate our Christian faith and infiltrated by heathens who have very hateful and violent beliefs. Why do you or anyone think that after all these years of prosperity and hope our nation is on the verge of collapse? Could it be that God is in the process of punishing us for abandoning Him? Read through Israel's history and you will see that God always used heathens and idolaters to punish the nation for its sins.
Compare Ezekiel 20:12-13 with today's circumstances. "Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I [am] the LORD that sanctify them. But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which [if] a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them."
Before The Throne:
If you have been polluting the Sabbath, confess it to the Lord and repent right now. Ask the Lord to help you to keep the Sabbath day holy, to redouble your commitment to Him on that day and to carry that commitment throughout the week. Thank Him for the gift of the Sabbath, because we all need to have a time of rest and fellowship with our loving Father in heaven.
For Further Study'
(v.9) ** Exod 20:8-11; Ps 92:1-4; Isa 58:13; Ezek 20:12; Rev 1:10:
(v.10) ** the burnt. Ezek 46:4-5; ** the continual. Num 28:23; Num 29:6, 11, 16, 19, 22, 25, 31, 34, 38-39;
The LORD's Offerings
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, [and] my bread for my sacrifices made by fire, [for] a sweet savour unto me, shall ye observe to offer unto me in their due season. 3 And thou shalt say unto them, This [is] the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, [for] a continual burnt offering. 4 The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even; 5 And a tenth [part] of an ephah of flour for a meat offering, mingled with the fourth [part] of an hin of beaten oil. 6 [It is] a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in mount Sinai for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD. 7 And the drink offering thereof [shall be] the fourth [part] of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy [place] shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD [for] a drink offering. 8 And the other lamb shalt thou offer at even: as the meat offering of the morning, and as the drink offering thereof, thou shalt offer [it], a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
The time of wandering in the wilderness was not always conducive to the daily sacrifices, which had been commanded in the law that God had given to Moses at Sinai. Now, however, Israel was getting ready to enter the land of Canaan and to settle down in one place. Before they entered, God wanted to remind them of their obligations to Him. It had been forty years since these laws had been presented to Israel. All of the adults who had received them were now dead, and it is possible that the younger generation was not too familiar with them.
In this chapter, the offerings that are to be observed are listed in a progressive order. The continual burnt offering (v.3), the weekly offering (v.9), the monthly offering (v.11), and the annual offerings (v.16 ff) are each reviewed for the benefit of the people and their relationship with the LORD.
God called the offerings, "My offering, and my bread for my sacrifices made by fire,..." They were His, for He was deserving of them, they were owed to Him by the people of Israel, and He had supplied all that was needed to make them. Moreover, the burning of them were a sweet odor to Him, because they represented the ultimate atoning sacrifice that would be made many years later by His only begotten Son. There was an appointed time for Him to make that sacrifice as there were appointed times for the Israelites to offer their burnt offerings.
John Gill wrote, "...these might be considered by them not merely as commands and duties to be observed, but as tokens of the divine favour to them, that notwithstanding all their rebellions and provocations in the wilderness, sacrifices for sin were ordered, continued, and accepted of by the Lord; and his acceptance of them, and well pleasedness in them, may easily be observed in the expressions used concerning them."
The daily sacrifices were to be a continual burnt offering of two lambs without spot. One was offered in the evening and the other in the morning. Their carcasses were completely consumed by the fire on the altar, representing the complete sacrifice of the Lamb of God who was without spot or blemish. But, while the lambs needed to be sacrificed continually in order to atone for the sins of the people, the sacrifice of the Lamb of God was made only once and will continue to cover the sins of His people for all eternity.
Fine flour mixed with the beaten or pure oil made a kind of bread for the offering. The oil was used as a substitute for butter. This meal offering or meat offering as it was sometimes called always went along with the burnt offering. It too represented the body of Christ.
A drink offering was also made. The offering was to be made of strong wine and was poured out on the altar, as though the LORD were drinking it. Of course, this represented the blood of Christ.
The sacrifices were a sweet savor unto the LORD, a pleasant odor, because of what they represented and for what they did, which was to bring peace between God and men. "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand... Therefore will I divide him [a portion] with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." (Isaiah 53:10, 12)
Before The Throne:
Sacrifice is still required today, but there is only one that is acceptable. In order to please God, you must accept, as your own, the sacrifice that Jesus made for you on the cross. His is a gift from God. Pray about your relationship with the Son of God. Ask for deeper understanding of the mystery of the gospel. Pray that God would use you to bring His peace to men through Jesus Christ.
For Further Study:
(v.2) ** my bread. Lev 3:11; Lev 21:6, 8; Mal 1:7, 12; ** for a sweet savour unto me. Num 15:3. 7, 24; Gen 8:21; Exod 29:18; Lev 1:9, 13, 17; Lev 3:11; Ezek 16:19; Eze 20:41; marg: 2Cor 2:15; Eph 5:2; Phil 4:18; ** in their due season. Num 9:2-3, 7, 13; Exod 23:15; Ps 81:3;
(v.3) ** two lambs. Exod 29:38-39; Lev 6:9; Ezek 46:13-15; John 1:29; 1Pet 1:19-20; Rev 13:8; day by day. Dan 8:13; Dan 11:31; Dan 12:11;
(v.4) ** and the other. 1Kgs 18:29, 36; Ezra 9:4-5; Ps 141:2; Dan 9:21; ** at even. Num 9:3; Exod 12:6;
(v.5) ** Num 15:4-5; Exod 16:36; Exod 29:38-42; Lev 2:1;
(v.6) ** a continual. Exod 29:42; Lev 6:9; 2Chr 2:4; 2Chr 31:3; Ezra 3:4; Ps 50:8; Ezek 46:14; Am 5:25; ** was ordained. Exod 24:18; Exod 29:38-42; Exod 31:18;
(v.7) ** in the holy. Ex 29:42; ** to be poured. Num 28:14, 31; Num 15:5, 7, 10; Exod 29:40; Exod 30:9; Lev 23:13; Isa 57:6; Joel 1:9, 13; Joel 2:14, 17;