The following commentary covers Chapters 26, 27, 28, and 29.
numbered afresh at the end of their journey
The journey being now
ended, God numbers afresh His people, and counts them by
name, as heirs ready to take possession of the
inheritance. He has kept them through everything, and
brought them as far as Canaan; their raiment even did not
wax old. He settles the details of the inheritance, and
appoints a leader in the room of Moses to introduce them
into the land of promise. Chapter 26 presents us with the
Details of the
order of inheritance; Moses' view and Joshua's
In the beginning of
chapter 27 are details upon the order according to which
they were to inherit. Moses is favoured with a view of
the land, and the people are placed under the conduct of
Joshua to enter therein. Moses and Aaron had led them
through the wilderness; but here it is a new scene, and
Joshua (as to the assembly, Christ in the power of His
Spirit) is appointed to conquer the land. But he is
dependent on the priesthood in his progress onward; as
effectively the presence and the operations of the Holy
Spirit are dependent on the presence of Christ in the
to God on earth, in the sacrifices as the meat of God
In chapters 28 and 29 we
have the worship of the people, the sacrifices which are
the meat of God. We shall dwell a little on these
chapters. They are not the ways of God, and the gathering
together the people to Himself, as in chapter 23 of
Leviticus, but the offerings themselves as offered to God
and especially those of sweet savour, made by fire,
except that which was purely accessory.
First, there are lambs for
the regular daily service; that is, for that of the
morning and evening, and, for that of the sabbath, two
lambs; then, bullocks and goats also for the
extraordinary feasts. The lamb has the most simple
meaning; it is the constant presentation of the value of
Christ and so of believers in Him, the true Lamb of
Godthe sweet savour of His sacrifice ascending
continually, by day and by night; and when the true
sabbath is come, its efficacy will only ascend more
abundantly, as a matter of intelligence and application.
This can be said as regards God Himself, as to the
increased display of the fruit of the travail of the
The bullocks seem to me to
represent rather the energy of the devotedness of persons
in their estimate of that sacrifice. It was the largest
thing that could be offered: still having regard to the
sacrifice of Christ and the price set upon it.
The ram was always a
victim of consecration, or of amends for some violation
of the rights of consecration.
As to the number of these
two last kinds, there were in general two bullocks, a
ram, and seven lambs; an additional bullock and ram the
first day of the seventh month; one bullock, one ram,
seven lambs the tenth of that month; and the decreasing
number of the feast of tabernacles.
It appears to me that all
this gives the testimony of the worship rendered to God
upon the earth.
Man's answer to
God's power and sin acknowledged
Thus, when the testimony
is renewed, when God revives the light which produces it,
the first feast noticed here, the answer on the part of
man is simple and perfectthe two bullocks (as there
were two lambs on the sabbath day), the full and complete
testimony to the devotedness of man, for two gave a valid
testimony. The ram of consecration is the estimate of the
sacrifice of Christ fully developed. Man being still down
here, and sin not out of question, the goat was added as
an offering for sin.
If the worship of the
people was in connection with the resurrection of Christ
(chap. 28: 17), it was the same thing; so in the case of
the work of the Spirit in gathering together (ver. 26).
It was the exercise of power on the part of God which
made an opportunity for worship; the answer on the part
of the people was the same.
The recall of
Israel prefigured as a special but partial work
The first day of the
seventh month had reference to the recall of Israel,
which was a speciality, the renewal, according to the
value of Christ's work, of God's connection with the
earth, and especially with Israel. Hence besides the
regular recognition of grace on the first of the month,
an additional bullock, ram, and seven lambs were offered.
The general testimony or answer to Christ's work was
offered, but a special and partial one besides, for the
earthly restoration of Israel. So on the day of
atonement, when Israel, seeing the Lord, will be fully
restored in grace. The general and complete testimony,
when the resurrection of Christ and the power of the Holy
Spirit, which allowed the Gentiles also to come in and
thus extended to the, perfect testimony of the relations
between God and man, produced, as thus witnessed in the
offerings, an answer from below which fully recognised
the good which God had done, and the relations
established thereupon, in being to Him according to the
sweet savour of Christ, either in consecration or in the
intelligent estimate of the offering of Christ. The
unction of the Spirit and joy accompanied it. And the
offering took place all the seven days of the feast, a
testimony to its completeness.
In the former case, then,
that is at the feast of the first day of the seventh
month, there was one bullock added as witness of a
special and peculiar (but at the same time partial) work,
but the general testimony to the value of Christ's
sacrifice on which it depended was maintained.
The application of
Christ's atonement to Israel on earth
It is evident that the
same principle applies to the tenth day of the seventh
month. It is the application of the atonement of Christ
to Israel on earth. But it was the simple apprehension of
the worth of Christ's sacrifice; its proper value before
God. The principle of consecration and the intrinsic
value of the sacrifice remained the same.
dispensation: the joy of the Millennium on earth
The feast of tabernacles
introduced another order of ideas, at least a new
development of those ideas; it is the coming
dispensation. There is no perfection in that which is
offered joyfully of one's own free will to God; but that
is nearly realisedthirteen bullocks are offered.
The millennium will bring upon earth a joy of worship and
thanksgiving, which (Satan being bound, and the blessing
of the reign of Christ being spread everywhere) will be,
externally at least, almost perfect.
The two rams manifest the
testimony of abundant consecration, and perhaps outwardly
the introduction of Jews and Gentiles (not consecrated in
one body, but) adequate witnesses upon earth in a
distinct manner of this consecration to God.
Then the testimony of the
perfectness of the work of Christ being full, upon earth,
either for Israel or for the blessing of the Gentiles,
its complete efficacy was manifested upon earth; and the
question here is only about this manifestation upon earth
(understood by faith, however). There were fourteen
There is, however,
declension in this devotedness of joy and testimony
towards God; it does not cease from being complete, it is
true; but its abundance gradually ceases to manifest
itself as it did at the beginning. The thing, as
established of God, remains in its perfection (ver. 32).
This was found in the seventh day, which completed the
part purely earthly.
The eighth day:
ouside earthly perfection, the heavenly people apart
On the eighth day, we have
only one bullock, one ram, and seven lambs. It was the
counterpart of what was special to the day of atonement,
and the first day of the seventh month: for, if this last
designated Israel alone brought back to God, the eighth
day, on the other hand, designates that which was outside
earthly perfection, and the heavenly people apart. This,
it seems to me, is the general idea of what the Spirit of
God gives us in this passage.