Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: God’s Ordinances of Remembrance

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

God’s Ordinances of Remembrance

10 When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. 11 Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: 12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; 16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; 17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. 18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. 19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. 20 As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 8:10-20).

Perhaps the greatest spiritual danger any believer faces in this “under the Sun” existence we call life is the danger in prosperity. It is not that prosperity itself is dangerous. Therefore, the danger is not a danger of prosperity, but the danger that lies in prosperity. The danger in prosperity is the danger of forgetting God and the foolish notion that prosperity is merely the outcome of your own great personal resources. This foolish notion leads foolish people into idol worship where they put themselves upon the idol’s pedestal expecting others to give them respect (another word for worship) for their accomplishments in life. Only God deserves worship. Although man may receive praise from others, and praise from God Himself, the wise man ALWAYS remembers who and what he is apart from God’s gracious workings in his life.

As spiritually wise people grow in prosperity, they also are wise enough to increase their efforts at maintaining their purity of worship and their purity of doctrine. Spiritually wise people also understand the absolute essential to increase involvement in the mechanisms God ordains in His Word to cause believers to remember Him, what He has done, and what He is doing. These mechanisms of remembrance that God ordains are called ordinances.

In the Old Testament, under the Mosaic Covenant, God had five main offerings/sacrifices and three main feasts all intent upon calling the believer to remembrance. The feasts were in different times of the year to remind Israel of God’s past workings to bring them to become a nation and to cause them to remember that all they had and all that they were was inseparably connected to the grace of God. Sadly, even in all of these ordinances of remembrance, the vast majority of the children of Israel reduced these ordinances to rituals and forgot God. Reducing the ordinances of remembrance to mere rituals is the natural outcome of having forgotten God.

As we look at the five Mosaic Covenant sacrifices and the three feasts of Israel, it is important to point out that none of the sacrifices or feasts were salvific in nature. In other words, participation in any of the sacrifices or any of the feasts did not provide anything for the person’s salvation. All the sacrifices and all the feasts were relative to a believer’s relationship with God and were physical ways for a believer to show God that he was genuinely concerned about the reality of his spiritual relationship with God and his walk before God’s eyes. In other words, participation was a physical acknowledgment before God and others (accountability) that the believer knew that God knew. We might go as far as to say that the believer’s participation was a public proclamation of faith and call to remembrance that said, “I know God sees all that I am and all that I do.” The offerings were offered on an Altar to God to signify something done before God’s eyes and in His presence.

(The following outline and general substance of content is from Leon J. Wood.[1] )

1. The Burnt Offering or the Offering of Consecration

(Lev. 1:5-17)

The Burnt Offering was made by the Priests for Israel as a nation (national consecration) and at the request of individuals (individual consecration). This was the primary offering for the consecration of Israel as a nation where a lamb was offering every morning and every evening during the days of the week and two lambs morning and evening on Sabbath Days. The numbers of Burnt Offerings increased on feast days. It portrayed complete consecration of the believer’s life in that the offering was completely consumed on the Altar.

Individuals could bring a Burnt Offering to signify their own individual consecration to God. Consecration always portrayed giving one’s life completely to the LORD. No one would have considered, or been allowed to, bringing a part of the animal as a Burnt Offering or requesting part of the animal to be returned after the offering. Secondly, only animals that were without blemished, or were not maimed in some way, were acceptable (Rom. 12:1-2).

In most cases, when individuals brought a Burnt Offering, it was for the purpose of restoration due to ceremonial uncleanness, breaking of a vow and rededication to faithfulness, or when a priest was consecrated to his service before the LORD. An individual could bring a lamb, goat, bullock, or ram as a Burnt Offering.

2. The Meal Offering or the Dedication of Material Possessions

(Lev. 2:1-16 & 6:14-23)

This was a bloodless offering and no animal was involved. This was a grain offering usually accompanied with oil, frankincense, and salt. The Meal Offering portrayed the complete dedication of a person’s material possessions to be used to the glory of God (I Cor. 10:31). The Meal Offering accompanied the Burnt Offering and was also completely consumed upon the Altar. The intent of this offering was to acknowledge before God that all a person’s possessions were from God and that to use those possessions for selfish purposes defiled those possessions and manifested that God had been forgotten.

3. The Sin Offering

(Lev. 4:1-35 & 6:24-30)

The Sin Offering was to acknowledge sins of ignorance that were not premeditated or deliberate (sins of deliberation resulted in being cast out of the Camp). Although Sin Offerings were regularly offered by the priests for the nation of Israel collectively during various feasts, these offerings were usually intent upon restoration of individuals to fellowship with God due to an individual’s momentary lapse of memory regarding God seeing and knowing all things. Spontaneous sins are often emotional responses to people or temptations.

The Sin Offering was intended to be sacrificial on the sinner’s part according to a person’s economic status. The idea was to reflect the fact that sin always cost more than we can afford and the impact of sin effects a very wide, perhaps immeasurable, realm of influence and even judgment/withdrawal of blessing upon the nation as a whole (compare I Cor. 11:29; “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation {judgment} to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body”). Even in this reality, the Sin Offering could be as insignificant as an ephah of flour for those in extreme poverty. In other words, restoration to fellowship and forgiveness of sin was never outside of the reach of anyone.

4. The Trespass Offering or the Offering of Restitution

(Lev. 5:1-6:7 & 7:1-7)

This offering was never made for the nation of Israel collectively. It was always an individual offering. This offering was required for various failures involving deceit or abuse of that which was sanctified (“holy”) to God. In most cases, the sinner had to restore what he had abused, plus a 20% monetary compensation, and offer a ram for a sacrifice (see Lev. 5:15, 17; 6:1-2; 14:12; 19:20-22; Num. 6:12). Again, this offering was for sins of ignorance that were not premeditated or deliberate (sins of deliberation resulted in being cast out of the Camp).

5. The Peace Offering

(Lev. 3:1-17; 7:11-34; 19:5-8; 22:21-25)

There were three types of Thank Offerings:

A. Thank Offering; given when a person received a special blessing from God

B. Votive Offering; given in payment of a vow

C. Freewill Offering; given to express one’s love and appreciation to God

A primary aspect of Peace Offerings is that the person giving the sacrificial animal would share in eating portions of the sacrifice to symbolize fellowship with God. To share a meal with someone was the most sincere and highest level of friendship and hospitality.

Obviously, all of these offerings were either about the restoration of fellowship with God that was broken due to failure or about deepening one’s fellowship with God through offerings reflexing one’s dedication to the Lord or one’s desire for deeper fellowship with the Lord. None of them had ANYTHING to do with the sinner’s salvation. In fact, only believers were allowed to participate. Those who habitually manifested a life of unbelief were either killed or cast out of the Congregation (Camp).

There were also three main remembrance feasts incorporated into Israel’s annual calendar. Every male of Israel was required to be present either at Shiloh when the Tent of Meeting was set up there, or at Jerusalem after the Temple was built.

1. The Passover along with the Feast of Unleavened Bread

(Ex. 12:1-13:10; Deut. 16:1-8)

This feast began the Jewish religious year, represented a new beginning, and was the most significant of all the memorial feasts. On Passover Day, that was followed by the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread, a memorial meal was eaten commemorating the original Passover Day in God’s deliverance (redemption) from Egyptian bondage. On the Day of Passover a perfect, unblemished lamb was killed and eaten together by each family. The Passover Day preceded the Sabbath day so that the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the last day were both Sabbath Days. Numerous sacrifices were offered collectively by the priests for Israel during each day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is intricately and intimately connected to the Passover. For the seven days of this feast believers were not allowed to eat anything but unleavened bread. Leaven in the Bible is a picture of sin or corruption. These seven days were preoccupied with a complete examination for any leaven in one’s household and the removal of that leaven. The emphasis of the Feast of Unleavened Bread at the beginning of a new Jewish religious year was the careful and extensive examination for any sin within a household or individual’s life.

The Passover is replaced by the Lord’s Supper and the Feast of Unleavened Bread is replaced by careful, deliberate self-examination for any form of worldliness or defilement by the world in one’s life. The difference is that eating the Passover preceded the seven days of self-examination. In the Lord’s Supper, self-examination precedes eating and drinking. Paul refers to this self-examination in I Corinthians 11:27-33. Failure to self-examine and the failure to repent and remove any defilement is what constitutes “eating and drink unworthily.”

26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. 33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another”(I Corinthians 11:26-33).

We cannot separate the Passover from its original emphasis in its type in the securing of the first-born by grace through faith. The promise of God in protecting the firstborn by the application of the blood of the Lamb to the lintel and doorposts of the household was not merely a promise to the Jewish household. The Egyptian household that applied the blood and ate the Lamb would also have been protected from the Death Angel as he passed over Egypt. The applied blood signified a household at rest and secured by faith in God’s promise.

2. The Feast of Weeks or Feast of Firstfruits culminating with the Day of Pentecost

(Ex. 23:16; Lev. 23:15-22; Num. 28:26-31; Deut. 16:9-12)

This was sometimes called the Feast of Pentecost in that the Day of Pentecost was the culmination of the Feast of Weeks and the emphasis of the feast. The Day of Pentecost typified this promised new, everlasting, eternal Day initially existing only in the Plan and Purpose of God through promise of the birth, holy life, death, burial, and resurrection/glorification of the Promised God/Man (the “last Adam”) extending from eternity past into eternity future. The original Day of Pentecost fell on the 50th day after a seven week period (there are seven Dispensations or Days of New Beginnings revealed throughout Scripture), with each week ending on a Sabbath Day. This was the Day God gave Israel the Law through Moses on Mt. Sinai. The Day of Pentecost as part of the feast of Weeks (also called the Feast of Firstfruits) then always fell on the first day of a new week after this seven week cycle. It typified the New Eternal/Everlasting Day of “the regeneration.” Although all believers of all Ages (Dispensations) have been positionally integrated into this New Genesis, Christ Jesus was the first human being Who ACTUALLY became part of this Eternal Genesis through His resurrection/glorification (the “Firstborn”).

On the first day of the seven weeks of the Feast of Weeks, the ceremony began by waving a sheaf of grain before the LORD. This typified the first-fruit of the New Genesis, which was the resurrected/glorified Messiah (Jesus Christ) and the beginning of “the regeneration.” The following seven weeks (see the seven churches of Revelation) typified the harvest of the Church Age of the “church of the firstborn.”

The 50th day was the Day of Pentecost typifying the culmination of the harvest of souls to God’s glory. On the Day of Pentecost two loaves were presented to the LORD made from the new harvest. These two loaves were baked with leaven representing the fact that the Church Age believers still possess a sin nature and throughout the Church Age would still live in corrupt bodies until their glorification. Therefore, a sin offering of a kid of a goat (Lev. 23:19) was commanded to be offered with the offering of the two loaves. In this sin offering there was a humbling of God’s people before Him regarding their own sinfulness and an acknowledgement before God of the need to daily enter into the spiritual struggle against outward temptations and the inward lusts of our own fallen natures.

3. The Feast of Tabernacles (Booths)

(Ex. 23:16; Lev. 23:34-43; Deut. 16:13-15)

This commemorated Israel’s manner of living in tents or temporary tabernacles during their 40 year journey through the wilderness under both God’s chastisement and God’s blessed provisions. The Feast of Tabernacles was one weeklong in duration. By the end of the week a total of 71 bullocks, 15 rams, 105 lambs, and 8 goats were offered collectively for the children of Israel as sacrifices to the LORD.

The one all encompassing truth of all the sacrifices is that God knows and sees all sin. If a sinner understands that, he will also understand that, since God is holy and righteous, sin must be judged. There are two sides to the judgment of sin.

1. There is the judgment of sin, which is a death sentence upon all sinners that cannot be satisfied by anything or anyone but a perfect, righteous substitute. This is provided in the death, burial, and resurrection/glorification of the Son of God, Jesus the Christ and is offered to the sinner as a gift of grace received through faith (repent, believe, confess, call, and receive).

2. There is the self-judgment of sin by believers after they have been saved in order to avoid the chastisement of God upon their lives. This involves confession of sin, repentance from that sin, and seeking forgiveness from God. This, like all the Mosaic Covenant sacrifices, has nothing to do with being saved. This self-examination, self-judgment, repentance, and seeking God’s forgiveness through confession is about the believer’s fellowship with God.

A true New Covenant believer, like the true Old Covenant believer, understood that all the sacrifices were about self-examination and self-judgment in order to avoid God’s chastisement. True faith took these issues very serious.

[1]Leon J. Wood; A Survey of Israel’s History Revised & Enlarged Edition, Academie Books, Grand Rapids, MI, Zondervan Publishing House

Anonymous comments will not be allowed.
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at:

Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

No comments: