Numbers 28
Numbers 28 Kingcomments Bible Studies


Numbers 28-29 are only easy to understand when we see that we are dealing with a people who have come to the end of the wilderness journey. The feasts we find in these chapters and in connection with which the sacrifices are made are also found in Exodus 23, Leviticus 23 and Deuteronomy 16.

In each bible book they are viewed from a different angle:
1. In Exodus 23 the feasts are connected with the law, the rights of God.
2. In Leviticus 23 the emphasis is on the feasts themselves and the significance they have for the Israelites; they prophetically represent the history of God’s people.
3. In Deuteronomy 16 it is about the time that the people are in the land and the feasts are in a special connection with “the place where the LORD chooses to establish His name” (Deu 16:2).
4. In Numbers 28-29 the accent is on the offerings brought during the feasts. These are offerings of which God says: “My offering, My food for My offerings by fire, of a soothing aroma to Me” (Num 28:2).

These two chapters are full of sacrifices. Each sacrifice is a picture of Christ in His Person and His work. Christ and His offering are all for God’s heart. He wishes it to be the same with us. Therefore, He commands us to come up with these offerings, that is, to tell Him about the different aspects of His Son’s offering that emerge in the various offerings.

In the wilderness the people are not ready for these offerings. Now that they are at the end of the wilderness journey and are just in front of the land, they are spiritually ripe for it. In view of the land, God is going to tell His people what He wants them to do there: He wants them to bring offerings to Him there. The old generation died in the wilderness. He addresses Himself to a new people and speaks to them about the wishes of His heart toward the Lord Jesus, for all offerings speak of Him.

The book of Numbers is about the wilderness journey. The meaning of this is the life of God’s people on earth as a place of trial. But the earth will not always remain a place of trial. For there will come a time when the earth will be the resting-place for God’s people. The offerings God speaks about with His people here refer to that time.

Command to Bring Offerings to the LORD

After the change of leadership that has passed from Moses to Joshua, God makes it clear that the transfer of leadership does not change the bringing of offerings to Him. God makes clear to the people to what He is entitled. In Numbers 15, He also spoke of offerings. There it is about offerings of a voluntary nature and there they are in contrast with an apostate people. However, the apostasy of the people does not diminish the possibility for the few faithful to bring the LORD offerings when they will have arrived in the land. But even then, He connects His conditions to the way He wants the offerings to be brought.

Here God speaks of a multitude of offerings in connection with the various feasts that the people will celebrate in the land. These are regulations for the people as a whole. God presents the feasts in their full extent and glory. Everything is about Him. This can be seen in the recurring words “My” and “Me”. The people must know what belongs to Him. Are we aware of this?

This is not about knowing the truth about the feasts. We find the truth about the feasts in Leviticus 23. There we find what the feasts mean. What still needs to be learned is what is due to God in each of those steps, with each of those feasts. And what is due to God? These chapters describe a large number of burnt offerings. No peace offerings, only a few sin offerings, but especially burnt offerings. This represents the work of the Lord Jesus in what God has enjoyed of it, what the Lord Jesus has given to God in it. What we have here is therefore the ‘material’ for eternal worship. We give Him in worship what He has given us in His Son.

The multitude of offerings put for our attention in these two chapters bear an overwhelming testimony to the work of the Lord Jesus. All the actions of God are based on it. And He wants us to be ever more impressed and talk about it with Him. Hence His precept to take care to bring Him “My offering, My food for My offerings by fire, of a soothing aroma to Me” (Num 28:2).

As said, God speaks to us about the all surpassing offering of His Son in His great richness as we come to the end of our wilderness experiences. The fact is, that the more experience we have gained in the wilderness about who we are and Who He is, the more we will long to honor and worship Him.

The Daily Burnt Offering

The first sacrifice God speaks of is the daily burnt offering. It consists of a sheep or a lamb. Every day a lamb is brought in the morning and a lamb in the evening, that is, “continuously” (Num 28:4; 10; Exo 29:38). It is the constant presentation of the value of Christ. God would like to be reminded of Christ daily, that is to say, without any break. Doing so also assures us that we will not forget Him. We may also see in it that God looks at us, His children, in His Son as the burnt offering.

The burnt offering must also be accompanied by a grain offering. That speaks of the life of the Lord Jesus. We may tell God that that Man accomplished that wonderful work. It is due to God. We may thank Him for all the good things in creation, but above all He wants to hear from us Who the Lord Jesus is for Him.

The Burnt Offering on the Sabbath Day

Additional offerings must be brought on the sabbath day. It is twice as much as is brought daily. The daily preciousness of Christ remains the same forever. The kingdom of peace and eternity confirm what has been seen by us of Christ every day in recent times and what has always stood before God’s attention. One application may be that on certain occasions when we are particularly impressed by God’s work in Christ, we honor Him all the more powerfully.

When the true sabbath, that is to say, the rest which will be part of creation during the millennial kingdom of peace, has come, the soothing aroma of the burnt offering will rise in double measure. The appreciation of the sacrifice will be present much fuller and more widely spread, in all creation.

The sabbath in a spiritual sense speaks of the rest that God has found in the work of the Lord Jesus and which the believer has also found in that work. In a song we say it this way: ‘He in Whom God Himself can rest, is the resting point for me too’.

Offerings on the Feast of New Moon

Before looking at the offerings we find in these verses on the occasion of the Feast of New Moon, it is good, as an introduction to the offerings, to first summarize the rest of the chapter and the whole following chapter (Numbers 28:11-29:40). In that section it is about the monthly and annual feasts and the sacrifices that are made.

They are divided into two series of three feasts. The first series can be applied to the church. Those feasts have their fulfillment in the present time. The second series can be applied to Israel. They will find their fulfillment in the restoration of Israel as God’s people on earth.

The first three feasts belong together. This can be seen from the fact that the same offerings are brought at these feasts. One feast is held every first day of a new month. The next two feasts are held in the first half of the year, one in the first month and one in the third month. On

1. the Feast of New Moon (Num 28:11-15),
2. the Feast of Unleavened Bread, immediately following the Passover (Num 28:16-25) and
3. the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (Num 28:26-31)

are brought as offerings:

1. two bulls for a burnt offering; for each bull the following is added
a. a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil and
b. a drink offering of half a hin of wine
2. one ram for a burnt offering; and
a. a grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil and
b. a drink offering of a third of a hin of wine
3. seven male lambs one year old for a burnt offering and per lamb
a. a grain offering of a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, and
b. a drink offering of a fourth of a hin of wine
4. a goat for a sin offering

Here we see larger burnt offerings than with the daily burnt offering and the burnt offering on the sabbath. On the occasion of the feasts, no lambs or sheep are brought as burnt offerings, as happens with the daily and weekly burnt offering, but bulls. They are also greater offerings than those brought in the second series. There it is one bull, while two bulls are brought here. At these three feasts a ram is also brought as a burnt offering. And every time there is talk of seven sheep or lambs.

All these sacrifices speak of the Lord Jesus.
1. The bull represents how He went His way to the cross in irresistible force and completely offered himself up to God there.
2. The ram suggests that He did so in perfect dedication to God.
3. The sheep or the lamb depicts that He completed the whole work without any complaint, without any restraint, completely willing. The number seven underlines that He has worked a complete salvation through His work on the cross. He is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29).

God wants us to bring those offerings to Him as proof of our recognition and agreement with His appreciation of His Son’s offering. For Israel there are daily, weekly, monthly, and annual special occasions to honor Him through a wide variety of offerings that all speak of the great work His Son has done and to tell Him about the special Person His Son is.

It calls upon us, children of God, to make every circumstance in which we find ourselves an opportunity to thank God (1Thes 5:18). If He is everything for us, it will not be difficult for us. We will then elaborate in telling the Father Who the Lord Jesus is for us. To do so, we will want to explore Scripture in order to learn more and more about the glory of the Son.

Now let’s look at Num 28:11-15. The expression “at the beginning of each of your months” appears only here in the five books of Moses. This may have to do with the fact that it is about the experiences and changes to which a people in the wilderness are subject. Again and again God makes a new beginning possible.

The Feast of the New Moon speaks of the new light that God lets shine on earth on His testimony, while it is still night. This testimony is now given by the church on earth while in the world it is night.

This testimony can only be given on the basis of the work of the Lord Jesus as the burnt offering, which is His glorification of God. The ram speaks of the dedication of the Lord Jesus. He is our example of dedication. We testify on earth, where sin is still present. This is why there is also a sin offering, which indicates that the Lord Jesus destroyed the power of sin.

Offers on the Passover

The Passover is the remembrance of the deliverance out of Egypt. The Passover lamb recalls the death of the Lord Jesus as necessary for our redemption from the power and slavery of satan, sin and the world, represented in Pharaoh and Egypt. The Passover lamb is not mentioned here. The Passover flows, as it were, into the Feast of Unleavened Bread, indicating the close connection between the two.

In Luke 22 it is said in this way: “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover” (Lk 22:1). The emphasis is on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but its exit point cannot be ignored. The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread form a unity and cannot be separated from each other, although they are distinguished from each other.

The connection between the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread has an important meaning for us. The Passover speaks to us of Christ (1Cor 5:7b). For us, for whom Christ “was sacrificed”, the Feast of Unleavened Bread means that there may be no place in our lives for sin, of which leaven is invariably a picture in Scripture. On the contrary, our life may be a feast in which sincerity and truth determine the brilliance of this feast (1Cor 5:8).

The offerings brought at this feast determine that we can only celebrate this feast because He has been what is represented in these offerings. If we bring these offerings – and God asks this from us! – we ourselves are also constantly reminded of what the Lord Jesus has been and has done for God and that it is only because of this that we can celebrate this feast.

Offerings on the Feast of Weeks

The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost follows fifty days, or seven weeks, after the Passover, which means that it is celebrated in the third month. At this feast the first fruits of the harvest are brought to the LORD as a new grain offering.

What is happening here must be distinguished from the sheaf of the first fruits that is brought after the Passover (Lev 23:9-14). The sheaf of the first fruits speaks of the resurrection of Christ as the First Fruits from the dead (1Cor 15:20). However, the Feast of the first fruits or Pentecost speaks of what happens in Acts 2. There, at the day of Pentecost, the believers are baptized into one body and the church is formed (Acts 2:1-4). The church is as a body connected to Christ as the Head and is “a kind of first fruits among His creatures” (Jam 1:18).

© 2023 Author G. de Koning

All rights reserved. No part of the publications may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.

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