God’s Word for You
Numbers 28:16-25 The Passover
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, January 5, 2022
The Festival Offerings
The daily, weekly, and monthly offerings have been described and now Moses presents the more complete recipes for the five annual festivals: Passover, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. (Perhaps the English alliteration of 2 “p’s” and 3 “t’s” will help those who wish to more easily memorize this list.)
16 In the first month, the fourteenth day of the month is the Passover for the LORD.
The first month for the Hebrews was Nisan, corresponding roughly to late March / early April in our calendar. These verses are often confusing for those like me who did not grow up observing Passover as a holiday. The fourteenth of the month, when the moon was waxing half-full, was the day of the Passover. There was no special offering on that day. It was a holiday, a day off, spent with family at home.
The Passover celebration let the people remember their deliverance from slavery in Egypt following the ten plagues that God struck the Egyptians with until they let his people go. He said to them: “I am the Lord your God who brought you up out of Egypt.” This was to teach them to trust in him and not even to rely not on themselves. “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10). They were God’s specially prized people: “The Lord brought a vine out of Egypt” (Psalm 80:8). Parents were to teach their children the simple message: “God, our God, will bless us” (Psalm 67:6).
17 On the fifteenth day of this month there is to be a festival. Unleavened bread is to be eaten for seven days. 18 The first day is to be a holy convocation. You are not to do any regular work.
Beginning on the fifteenth, there was a seven-day festival. The first and last days of this festival were Sabbaths and therefore were days off from work, and days where the families would come to the tabernacle (or synagogues) for a worship gathering. The EHV uses the word “convocation,” uncommon in English outside academic and corporate circles, meaning a large gathering, usually called by summoning rather than by a schedule.
19 You are to present an offering made by fire, a burnt offering to the LORD: two young bulls, one ram, and seven one-year-old male lambs—all without defect— 20 along with their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil: six quarts for a bull and four quarts for the ram. 21 You will prepare two quarts for each of the seven lambs, 22 and one male goat as a sin offering to make atonement for yourselves.
The offerings are specified here. As with the monthly new moon offering, a goat was added as a sin offering. Actually, a goat for a sin offering was to be sacrificed before any of the regular offerings apart from the Sabbath and the daily morning and evening sacrifice. Moses said to Aaron, “Come to the altar and sacrifice your sin offering” before any other offerings on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 9:7; see also Ezekiel 43:25 and 45:23). When were these sacrifices to be made? We read on:
23 You will prepare these things in addition to the morning burnt offering that is part of the regular burnt offering. 24 In this way for seven days you will prepare food daily as an offering made by fire with a pleasing aroma to the LORD. It is to be prepared in addition to the regular burnt offering and its drink offering. 25 On the seventh day there is to be a holy convocation. You shall not do any of your regular work.
Verse 23 tells us that the other sacrifices were to be made “in addition to the morning burnt offering,” immediately after the morning sacrifice had been made. An additional lamb was to be offered each day for that week. The drink offering is not specified here, but it seems likely that as with the monthly offering, the drink offering should be two quarts of wine for a bull, a quart and a half for a ram, and one quart for a lamb (Numbers 28:14).
The last day of the week was another convocation or worship gathering. A senior priest (probably the high priest) and others would be involved in preaching in order to encourage godly devotion and godly living among the people, and perhaps to address prevalent sins in the community without necessarily pointing any fingers, as we must still do today. In their time, the basics of the Law of Moses would have been a key topic, especially the Ten Commandments but also the history of Israel leading up to the exodus. The other key doctrine was of course the promise of the Savior, beginning with the gospel first preached for Eve (Genesis 3:15), the renewed promise for Abraham (Genesis 12:3, 18:18), and the coming of the Savior through Isaac (Genesis 26:4), Jacob (Genesis 28:14) and Judah (Genesis 49:10). Those promises carried the significance of the sin offering to its highest peak. Consider your sins, O man, a guilt that overwhelms you like a burden too heavy to bear (Psalm 38:4). A Savior was coming through the family of Abraham to bless mankind, to be a king and a priest to offer the one sacrifice to end all sacrifices. Wickedness, sin, and original guilt would be covered by this Savior, and worship would of course change forever after his appearing. No longer would laws and sacrifices be demanded. Now the gospel would be preached, and the good news of the Savior of mankind will be worshiped forevermore.
Pastor Timothy Smith