Page images

Next to the Sabbath, the passover was the most memorable and important feast in Israel. It is not our wish to repeat what has been already noticed; we may therefore only observe, that in our Sabbath all the feasts of the Lord are united. On this day the first disciples of Jesus Christ held their holy convocation, to break bread in remembrance of him. On this day they eat their unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. It is remarkable, that in every week or seven days, there was one day of holy convocation sacred to the Lord, in which no servile work was to be done; and in every year seven solemn holy days, 1. The passover; 2. The feast of unleavened bread; 3. The first fruits; 4. The feast of pentecost; 5. The feast of trumpets; 6. The day of atonement; and 7. The feast of tabernacles.

[ocr errors]

From the 9th to the 15th verse, we have the feast of the first fruits particularly enjoined. There are frequent references made to this feast in the writings of the apostles, clearly demonstrating that their harvest prefigured the end of the world; and hence, the waving the first ripe sheaf, and consecration of the first fruits, prefigured Christ, his resurrection from the dead, and presentation before God, as thus consecrating the whole children of the resurrection,' and thus, Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection.' Christ arose from the dead as the first ripe sheaf of the harvest; and he was waved before the Lord, when he appeared the lamb as it • had been slain in the midst of the throne. As the antitype of the sheaf of old, he was favourably accepted for his people, verse 11.; and this was done on the morrow after the Jewish Sabbath. For this cause, Christ rose from the dead on the third day according to the scriptures; the disciples of Jesus rested the Sabbath according to the commandment; and very early in the morning of the first of the week, the joyful news were proclaimed, He is not here, he is risen as he said; and on the seventh Sabbath he ascended on high leading captivity captive. Previous to the waving of the sheaf, the Jews were prohibited from eating any part of their harvest, whether green ears, parched corn, or bread. We shall only farther observe, that this feast was a striking representation of the nature and consequences of Christ's resurrection; nor is it an unnecessary subject for Christians now to investigate. Consider what I say,' says Paul, and the Lord give thee understanding in all things; remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead, according to my gospel.' All that is recorded concerning Christ's resurrection proves, that it took place according to the scriptures, and that every thing written in the law of Moses might be fulfilled. It was thus that the believing Israelite of old was blessed in meditating on that law day and night; it was thus, that when the meaning of its ordinances was understood, and the eyes unveiled, they beheld wonderous things in that law! things which made them wiser than all their teachers. We may farther add, that every thing said about their husbandry, evidently respects the church of God, from their first breaking up their fallow ground,' and sowing in righteousness,' to

[ocr errors]

their bringing in the last gleanings of their field, and grapes of their vintage. God thus instructed them (and it is written for our learning) concerning that time, when the bearer of the precious seed, who went forth weeping, shall come again rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

[ocr errors]

From the 15th to the 22d verse we have the particulars of the feast of pentecost, the fulfilment of which is so particularly narrated in the 2d chapter of the Acts. Seven Sabbaths were to be remembered from that on which the sheaf was waved. The text is particular in saying, Seven Sabbaths shall be complete,' verse 15.; to which the language Acts ii. 1. evidently refers, Now when the day of pentecost was fully come.' As this was the fiftieth day, the feast got the name from the Greek word for fiftieth, pentecosta. Upon the same ground the fiftieth year was the year of Jubilee. It is impossible to avoid repetition on such a subject, and to express our wonder, that there should remain in the mind of any who attend to the scriptures, the smallest hesitation as to the typical design of the completion of the sevens. It will be particularly recollected, that as the first ripe sheaf commenced, so this completed the harvest and as it is connected with the charge, not to glean the corners of the field, but to leave the portion to the poor, the destitute, and the stranger; so when the day of pentecost was fulfilled, the stranger Gentiles were called to glean the Jewish harvest. The two large loaves of fine flour which were on this day to be offered by the Jews, are also called first fruits, and represented the first fruits of the Gentiles, the commencement of the Lord's harvest there; in like manner the early converts are called first fruits of Achaia, 1 Cor. xvi. 15. The downpouring of the Holy Ghost, and the remarkable gifts of the Spirit which accompanied it, are called the first fruits of the Spirit The first fruits of the day of pentecost, and the two tenth deal loaves, may be considered as the thank-offerings of both Jews and Gentiles; for at the day of pentecost, when 3000 Jews were added to the Lord on one day, and those fields, which the Lord had told his disciples were ripe for harvest, were gleaned, Israel was holiness (or the holy things) of the Lord, and the first fruits of his increase,' Jer. ii. 3. In like manner, James tells the gleanings of the Jews, viz. the scattered remnant of the twelve tribes to whom he wrote, that they were a kind of first fruits,' see James i. 18.; and the redeemed are called the first fruits unto God and to the lamb,' Rev. xiv. 4. The subject of first fruits is much recommended to the attention of the reader; it is first brought to view in the firstlings of Abel's flock, and is much celebrated throughout the scripture. We shall only add, that as the first fruits were sacred, they were highly typical, not only of the divine worth of the HOLY ONE OF GOD, but of all his sanctified justified Israel, who are holy brethren, called to be saints, and dedicated to the service of the Lord. Among the other offerings of this period, we find peace-offerings mentioned, and this is the only time on which the church offered peace-offerings, although

[ocr errors]

individuals frequently did. We shall only farther remark, that on the first day of the week, we are called to keep our pentecost, with joy and gladness, and thankfulness to God, who hath sent forth the spirit of his Son, and privileged us Gentiles to participate in the joyful harvest of what the prophets sowed, and the apostles began to reap. Nor should we forget, while keeping our feast days, that that love and gracious kindness to the poor, which was connected with this and all the feasts of the Lord, verse 22. should animate us to attend to the apostle's words, But to do good, and to communi'cate forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.'

[ocr errors]



We have seen that the seventh day, and seventh week, were set apart as peculiarly sacred, and we are now to see the seventh month was also a period dedicated to the Lord. Every new moon was ushered in with the sound of a trumpet; but on the appearing of the seventh moon, there was a peculiar sound of triumph, and a feast, which was from this denominated the feast of trumpets. The seventh month was set apart for this purpose, 1. Because it was intended to point out that important period, when, Behold he is gone up with shouts, and with the sound of a trumpet;' or, more properly, 2. The morning of that seventh period, when he shall descend with power and great glory; when the trump of God shall sound, even the voice of the archangel, which all who are in their graves shall hear. We shall have occasion to consider the blowing of trumpets more particularly afterwards; at present we shall only add, that, whether we think of this feast as pointing to the proclamation of the gospel, the joyful, sound, or to the great and terrible day of the Lord, we shall find the ordinance peculiarly instructing. On the tenth of this month was celebrated the great day of atonement, formerly considered at chap. xvi. From the 27th to the 33d verse, the solemnity with which that day should be kept is strongly expressed. Excision was the recompence of reward to those who despised this part of the law of Moses. The first day of the week is our new moon, our holy convocation, not only for the exulting blowing of the trumpet, but the day of humiliation before God, while remembering the great price of the atonement of our souls. All the important truths, which the various ceremonies of the great day of atonement are calculated to bring to mind, are set before us in the worship of the Christian Sabbath.

From the 34th verse to the end we have an account of the last and not the least important feast of Israel, the feast of tabernacles. This was one of the three grand festivals, on occasion of which all the males in Israel appeared before the Lord. It commenced on the 15th day, four days after the day of atonement, and was celebrated with all possible demonstrations of joy and gladness. It lasted eight days; and the last or eighth day is called the great day of the feast. It was upon this last and great day that Jesus stood and cried, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink,' &c. John vii. 37. It is commonly thought, that our Lord here alludes


to a ceremony performed with great pomp on this occasion, viz. drawing water from the fountain which issued from the temple, and pouring it out before the Lord. This is not mentioned in the text before us, but as it is manifestly referred to in several passages of scripture, it would be improper to pass it unnoticed. Tremellius gives us from the Talmud an account of this ceremony, as practised in the latter days of the Jewish church, which is worth preserving. On the eighth day of this feast, the Jews used to march seven times round the altar, singing Hosannah, with palm branches in their hands.' They then drew water from Siloam, which they poured out, mixed with the wine of the peace-offerings, singing Isaiah's song, With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.' feast was called the feast of booths,' because during its continuance the Israelites dwelt in booths. It is called in Greek Skenopegia, that is, the pitching of tents, or setting up of booths. It was at this feast that Solomon's temple was dedicated, and therefore it may be inferred, that it respects the tabernacling of Jesus in flesh and blood with his people. It was at this feast that Jesus rode up to Jerusalem riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass, when the surrounding multitudes brake down the branches, and triumphantly exclaimed, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord to save us, • Hosannah in the highest.' We may therefore look forward for the complete fulfilment of this feast, to that period, when be, the Redeemer, shall come again to Zion, and enter Jerusalem in triumph; when all his people shall dwell with him in unwalled villages; see Ezek. xxxviii. 11. We have a glorious description of the manner in which the great feast of tabernacles will be kept, Rev. vii. 9 -17. which the reader is recommended to consider attentively.

CHAP. XXIV. In this chapter we have an account of the furnishing of the oil for the lamps of the golden candlestick, which we have already noticed on Exod. xxv. 2.; it was pure olive oil: referring to which Paul considers the Old Testament church as the true and natural olive tree, where this oil was deposited; and the Gentiles as a wild olive, grafted into the tree contrary to nature. This stood without the veil,' because it corresponds with the state of the church in this world; and there Aaron and his sons were to dress the lamps; thus prefiguring the office of the great High Priest over the house of God, who walks in the midst of his churches with his eyes as a flame of fire. From the 5th to the 10th verse, we have the ordering of the shew-bread, which has been already noticed, and on which we have only farther to remind, that as the twelve loaves referred to the twelve tribes, so Paul's words are most applicable, We, being many, are one bread,' 1 Cor. x. 17.

From the 10th verse we have an account of the son of an Israeli

tish woman, who blasphemed the NAME. Our translation improperly supplies the words of the Lord. The object of this blasphemy was the angel, of whom the Lord said to Moses, MY NAME is in him,'


Exod. xxiii. 21. He is distinguished as THE NAME throughout the Old Testament, see 1 Kings viii. 19. 29. and many similar passages; and the apostles spoke a very intelligible language to those who were conversant with the Old Testament scriptures in such passages as Acts iii. 16. and iv. 12. ، There is none other name given under heaven amongst men, whereby we must be saved.' To blaspheme here means to fierce through, as Isaiah xxxvi. 6. This is that name to which Paul refers when he says, He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than the angels,' Heb. i. 4. even that name which is above every name; and every thing spoken to the dishonour of that worthy name, is in scripture called blasphemy. Hence the crime of Hymeneus and Alexander, which Paul calls making shipwreek of the faith,' respected the faith concerning the name of Jesus Christ; therefore Paul delivered them to Satan, that they might learn not to blaspheme. Blaspheming the Son of man was speaking against him. This is followed with the repetition of several general laws of which we have already spoken.

CHAP. XXV.--We now enter on the consideration of one of the most important branches of the ordinances of the Mosaic law, the consecration of the seventh and the fiftieth years. ، When ye come

into the land which I shall give you,' this ordinance was to commence; and it is remarkable, that Joshua was exactly seven years in driving out the nations and establishing Israel in Canaan. We have seen the seventh day sanctified for a Sabbath to Jehovah; the seventh week at the feast of pentecost; the seventh month at the feast of tabernacles; and in this chapter the seventh year, and the fiftieth, viz. after seven sevens are completed. To the question, why is the number seven so much attended to ? there is generally one answer, viz. seven is the number of perfection; but this answer is not satisfactory. It is clear that seven is the perfect number, but how comes it to he so? the most convincing reason for this will be found in Rev. x. 7. In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall have sounded, the MYSTERY OF GOD shall be FINISHED.' It will be found that this number always refers to the finishing period of that mystery. There remains a Sabbatism to the people of God, to keep alive the hope of which the Old Testament church were taught to observe days and months and years. The seventh year was to be • a Sabbath of Sabbatism unto thee, and a Sabbath for Jehovah,' ver. The land enjoying her Sabbaths, was a plain proof that as the earth which the Lord hath cursed partook in the effects of the curse. so on earth there is yet to be a Sabbatism enjoyed. Thus every seventh year was intended to remind of the true Noah, who should give rest and comfort from the work and toil of our hands; compare Gen. v. 29. The abstaining from all the labours of this year, prefigured ceasing from their own works, as God did from his, and entering into rest, by believing on the Son of God, Heb. iv. 9, 10.



« PreviousContinue »