Feast of Tabernacles (4)

Sung Psalm 1

Reading Joshua 8:30-35

Joshua clearly knew all God’s commands given to Moses. God commanded him personally (1:7) and he writes them and reads them at Mt. Ebal in this portion of Scripture. But was this an instance of keeping the feast of tabernacles fulfilling Deut. 31:9-13 where on the special 7th year (of release ) the law was to be read? The points suggesting it may have been are: that all the people were gathered and the law was read BUT it could not be a celebration of the feast because the land was not yet conquered, or divided, they had not been seven years in it, the people had not yet set up the tabernacle (Shiloh Josh 18:1) and the sacrifices offered here bear no resemblance to those stipulated for the feast.

In fact it was the fulfilling of Deut. 27 and 28 with the recitation of the blessings and cursings, which inevitably would have made a deep impression on the people.

Nehemiah 8:17 is positive proof that Joshua kept the feast, we would surmise somewhere around chapter 22 of his book.


Feast of Tabernacles (3)

Sung Psalm 81:1-8 (ref to feasts)

Read Deut. 31:9-13, 24-26

We discussed the WRITING of God’s law (Pentateuch) by Moses, it’s PRESERVATION and transmission by copying and it’s READING (subject of vv10-12).

We worked out it would take about 10 hours to read the Pentateuch which could be done over a period of a week 1-2 hours daily, by a number of men simultaneously each with a group of several thousand because the people numbered about 2 million as they entered Canaan. In Nehemiah 8 we read of a similar concourse but with about 50,000 people.

What we do not know is: How many Jews had personal access to the Torah (Law of God, Pentateuch) and how many could actually read it.

So in the seventh year, the year of release, when slaves were freed, no work was done in arable agriculture and debts were remitted, the families would be required to meet in Jerusalem in the seventh month on the fifteenth day, the first day of the feast of tabernacles to remember with thankfulness God’s provision when they dwelt in booths in the wilderness, of the Law, clothes and shoes that lasted extra long, food and water, and furthermore their provision since. (especially in seventh and eighth years).

Feast of Tabernacles (2)

Sung Psalm 81:1-8 (celebrating Exodus)

Reading Numbers 29:12-40

The Pentateuch displays a progressive revelation of God’s instruction concerning his feasts, with the later books building upon what has been revealed earlier. Deuteronomy (from ancient Greek meaning second law), prepares the people for worship in the land.

It is worth noting that Leviticus 23 gives instructions concerning all the Jewish feasts while Numbers 28-29 outline all the sacrifices to be offered at these feasts.

The sacrifices at Tabernacles

Days 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Bullocks* 13 12 12 10 9 8 7 1
Rams* 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1
Lambs* 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 7
Kids # 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1


Total 199 offerings.

*all burnt offerings     #sin offering

So during this feast in which more offerings were sacrificed than in any other feast, the burnt offerings which were wholly consumed, started with the daily morning offering of a lamb, ended with another evening offering of a lamb and in between consisted the freewill offerings of the people PLUS all those outlined above.

Ezekiel alludes to this feast in Ez.36;37.38 where the increase of the people in Jerusalem will be like the increase of the flock in the city at the time of this feast.

Deut. 16:13-17 concerning this feast lays the emphasis on rejoicing and caring for the poor through sharing.

This emphasis on joy makes me (JK) think of how our Lord Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of this feast in first, his incarnation (tidings of great joy Luke 2:10) and at the end of the world and his second coming at the final joyous ingathering of his elect I Thess.2:19), the tabernacle of God is with men (Rev.21:3).


The Jubilee (4)

Sung Psalm 45:1-6

Read Lev.27:16-25

The freewill offering of land to the priests became cash to the value of the seed required to sow that land. If a man wanted to buy it back he had to add 20% of the cash value but at the jubilee it reverted to the priests. If a man devoted land to the priests that was bought from another man then a cash value was calculated to be given the priesthood and the land reverted to the original owner at jubilee.

Related passages: Numbers 36:1-7. To prevent land leaving Manasseh the daughters of Zelophehad married within their tribe. Jer.32:7. II Chron.36:21. Neh.10:31. Ezek.46:16-18 (c.f. I Sam.8:14)

Another aspect of Jubilee: Deut.15:1-16. The non-exaction of debt among the Jews (but not foreigners).

In Isaiah 61:1, Jubilee was fulfilled partly when the Jews returned from Babylon but ultimately in the coming of Christ who himself said this Scripture was fulfilled as he read it in the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:16-21). Note it included kindness to Gentiles (widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian).

So the real jubilee came by preaching, by faith and by freeing from slavery to sin and the forgiveness of the debt of sin in the New Testament age, the “now” of II Cor.6:2, in which we no more keep days, months or years (Gal.4:9-10) but resort wholly to the person who brought in real jubilee namely Jesus.

” The benefits of Jubilee were squarely based on the atonement, on the shedding of blood in the stead of Israel. Israel did nothing to atone for itself, did nothing to pay. The benefits were simply bestowed upon Israel by sheer divine grace: slaves were released; debtors were freed;land and people had rest. No one did anything to earn liberation. All simply received it as a pure gift.” Prof David J Engelsma in pamphlet entitled “AD 2000: Year of Jubilee by Papal Indulgence or Reformation Gospel.”

Jubilee ppt (click on view slideshow)


The Jubilee (3)

Jubilee (3)

Sung Psalm 72:1-8 (Messianic Kingdom)

Reading Lev. 25:35-55

A Jew come to poverty could be lent money but at no interest. The medieval church adopted this law and so Christians were not allowed to lend and the Jews took it over.

N.T. believers are to give sensibly to those in need especially brothers (job of church diaconate).

Slavery is not, of itself, morally wrong because we have slaves (servants) here in O.T. Israel. The slavery of blacks in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries which involved kidnapping, torture and ill-treatment was manifestly evil and even today in many lands, east and west, men ,women and children are enslaved by unscrupulous, greedy, uncaring people. In O.T Israel, strangers (foreigners) could be slaves and along with property, inherited with land (v46).These slaves were not released at year of Jubilee.

If a Jew sold himself to a stranger he was to work as a hired servant (vv47-55). If a Jew sold himself to another Jew he was to be released on the seventh year (Ex.21:1-6) but his wife and children did not go free under this older law. Under Jubilee law they were all freed and according to Deut. 15:12-18 they were to be treated liberally with gifts when set free, one reason being their land would lie fallow for another two years! The reason for these laws God says is that all the Jews are God’s servants (v55) i.e. he is to govern their disposal.

Jeremiah 34:8-22 is noteworthy because firstly it shows that the Israelites probably for centuries ignored these laws and here, with impending defeat and captivity they make a “token gesture” to set slaves free but then renege on it and as a result go into captivity for 70 years to allow the land to have the rest it had missed.

Typology-JK (of which more next week)

  • We are God’s willing slaves and freemen (Phil.1:1 bought by the blood of Jesus Christ), cared for by a loving Lord.
  • Our redemption was costly (Ps.49:7-8, 15, I Peter 1:18-19).
  • The worst slavery is slavery to sin which ends in eternal death (Rom.6:20-23, John 8:34).
  • Christ came to bring in this real Jubilee of freeing men (Isaiah 61:1-2, John 8:36).

The Jubile (2)

Sung Psalm 66:1-7

Reading Leviticus 25:23-55

Concerning the LAND (rest), the HOUSES/LAND OWNERSHIP (return) and SLAVES (release).


  • The land, which in essence is leased, can be redeemed anytime but the price will vary (25:15), depending on how many years remain till the Jubilee. To enable this law to be enacted careful records would have to be kept. Ruth and Naomi returning to Israel whose land was redeemed by Boaz were an example of this being worked out.
  • A house bought in a city could be returned within a year.
  • A house in the country reverts to seller in year of jubilee.
  • Levitical houses could be redeemed at any time and were returned in year of jubilee.
  • Levitical land was theirs in perpetuity.
  • These statutes were unique in Israel, prevented greed and encouraged equality. (Isaiah 5:8-10, Micah 2:1-5, II Cor.8:14-15).

Significance and typology of all this?

  • All God’s people have a heavenly eternal inheritance kept for us (I Peter 1:4).
  • When Christ was born, it was in a certain fixed place (Bethlehem) in Judah in the city of David’s inheritance because both Mary and Jesus’ adoptive father were of the tribe of Judah.

The Jubile

The Jubile

Psalm 100 (Rejoice evermore)

Leviticus 25


In order in Scripture we read of rest for God and rest for man (the weekly sabbath) and now we come to rest for the land.

Name jubile or jubilee comes from YOBEL (Hebrew for ram’s horn) which was to be sounded all over Israel.

We celebrate jubilees in relation to our monarchy (e.g.Queen’s diamond jubilee 2013), also silver (25) and golden jubilees (50) and also wedding anniversaries.

The word jubilant comes from this root and means rejoicing.

The components of this jubilee, every seventh year and then the 49th and 50th years are:

  • Agriculture (rest for land, people and animals)
  • Land ownership (it reverts to original owner)
  • Release of slaves
  • Solemn worship assembly (Deut.31:10-13)

Did the Jews keep these laws? Generally, no! (II Chron. 36:21).

Principle to bear in mind:

Time, people and land all belong to God (25:23).

Typology: Christ is our rest and so is eternity future (Matthew 11:28, Heb. 4:3, II Thess.1:7).


The Armour of God

What is the armour of God by which Christians do battle with the devil, the flesh and the world. Truth the belt, righteousness the breastplate, salvation the helmet, the gospel the shoes, faith the shield, the word as the offensive sword. Christ by his Spirit is ALL these to us. Not by power, nor by might (fleshly), but by my spirit saith the Lord. The Spirit fights against the flesh, he is Spirit of truth, he is the Spirit of faith and imputed righteousness, he is our shield, the Spirit who brings salvation and the Spirit who inspired and uses the gospel of the word to call and conquer. Putting on the armour of God is putting on Christ, recognizing all he has done for us and our privilege being united to him, it is being filled with the Spirit and praying without ceasing. The battle is always the Lord’s by his Spirit and his Spirit is in us!


The Land (10). Cities of Refuge

We sung Psalm 27:1-5 (note where David ran for refuge)

This morning we covered Joshua 20 which outlines the six cities of refuge, three to west of River Jordan (Kadesh, Shechem and Hebron) and three to the east namely Golan, Ramoth Gilead and Bezer (KASH and GRAB mnemonic!). The laws of Exodus 21:12-14, Numbers 35,  Deut. 4:41-43 (first three cities) and Deut. 19:1-13 (examples of manslaughter and the just cause of capital punishment) are re-iterated. Note the conjunction of Levitical cities and cities of refuge in the Numbers chapter. The need for them was to differentiate the two major causes of homicide whether deliberate murder or accidental manslaughter. The first mandated the death penalty but the second did not.

The need for these places was an ingrained fallen “tribal” idea of revenge prevalent then and still today in many Islamic or backward nations in which a near relative would seek to kill the person who had killed their relative. The second three cities are named in Joshua 20:7-9 and note the foreign sojourner is included fairly in the legislation. The one fleeing had to stay in the city of refuge till the case was heard or the high priest died (v4) which could be years!

Related instances are seen in the cases of Adonijah and Joab (I Kings 1:50-53 and I Kings 2:29) who both fled to the horns of the altar in the tabernacle, the first allowed to live and the second put to death as he had murdered two men namely Abner and Amasa (I Kings 2:31-33) and II Samuel 3:27 and 14. In the middle ages churches were often used as sanctuary by those being pursued.

Today these laws are abrogated because there is no high priest, the church is universal and the Old Testament ceremonial and societal ordinances are nailed to the cross of Christ.

King David very often speaks of God and his dwelling place as his refuge or the refuge of others in need see II Sam.22:3, Ps.14:6, 46:1, 57:1, 59:16, 62:7-8, 71:7,91:2, 94:22, 142:5. Often this was literal as God providentially shielded him from his earthly enemies like Saul, but also true of him and us, as we seek help against our spiritual enemies namely the hostile world, our own flesh and Satan.

Contrast our hiding in God and the wicked reprobate who cannot stand in God’s presence (Ps.5:5).

The cities of refuge point to the great refuge of all God’s people namely Christ (Heb. 6:18) to whom we flee, having been guilty of murder (hatred) and many more sins besides, for refuge from the wrath of God where we hide in the cleft of the rock who is Jesus Christ.


Feast of Firstfruits



  • Held two days after Passover.
  • Represents all the harvest
  • Promise of all the harvest
  • An offering acknowledging all comes from God
  • Represents first-fruits of covenant life with God (full harvest at end)
  • We are the first-fruits (James 1:18)
  • Christ is the first-fruits (I Cor.15:20,23)
  • All is dedicated to God (as in saying grace before meals)
  • We are only able to dedicate ourselves because Christ was sown into death and offered as first and best, then waved himself before the Father at resurrection (which was on the feast of first-fruits)
  • We rejoice, as Israel did, in all our blessings of grace in Christ.