God’s Word for You
Numbers 28:26-31 Without defect
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, January 6, 2022
The Festival of Weeks or Pentecost
26 On the day of the firstfruits when you present an offering of new grain to the LORD during the Festival of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any of your regular work.
The calculation for this festival’s date is given in Deuteronomy 16:9, “Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain.” The beginning of the grain harvest (that is, the early barley and flax harvest) was permitted on the second day of the Passover Feast (no work was permitted on the first day), the 16th of Nisan (Nisan is sometimes called Abib, Exodus 13:6; Deuteronomy 16:1). This is why the festival became known as Pentecost, or “fiftieth day,” since it was seven weeks and one day after the barley harvest could begin on the day after the first day of Unleavened Bread.
What was meant by “no regular work”? The festival was made for man, not man for the festival (Mark 2:27). Every pastor should have farmers in his congregation. There is never any question about what “regular work” should mean and not mean with farmers. A dairy farmer wouldn’t bat an eyelash at the need to milk cows on a Sabbath day. They need to be milked, plain and simple. The harvest can wait a day, but milking? Milking always needs to be done, just the same as cooking the soup, doing the dishes or making the bed. “Besides,” my uncle Rick once joked to me, “you can sit down to milk. You don’t need to break a sweat milking.” When I milked goats as a young man I never sat down; the goats ran up onto a platform and I milked them standing up. But they were goats; I didn’t sweat much.
27 You are to present as a whole burnt offering for a pleasing aroma to the LORD: two young bulls, one ram, and seven one-year-old male lambs 28 along with their grain offering, fine flour mixed with oil: six quarts for each bull, four quarts for the one ram, 29 and two quarts for each of the seven lambs; 30 also present one male goat to make atonement for yourselves. 31 You are to offer these and their drink offerings in addition to the regular burnt offering and its grain offering. Your animals are to be without defect.
As with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks had a number of additional offerings to be made. The animals are always described as “without defect.” This didn’t mean that their fur had to be devoid of brambles or scuffs of mud or dust, but rather that they were not blind, not deaf, and not lame. They had a tail to shake, a throat that could baa, moo, or bellow. An animal might be rejected for missing a tooth, but since most of the beasts were to be young, the chances of missing anything were small. There is no regulation about the length of horns, color of hides, or the variety of sheep, goat or ox.
But “without defect” meant something very different with our Savior Jesus. “Without defect” for him meant without sin of any kind. He was “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Solomon asked whether anyone could truly claim such a thing (Proverbs 20:9), and Job was taken to task for saying it (Job 33:8-9), but Jesus could and was declared to be sinless. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us,” Paul said (2 Corinthians 5:20). And at his trial, Jesus was declared by the highest authority in Israel, Pontius Pilate, to be without blame of any kind. Pilate made this declaration three times. First, after Jesus confessed to being a king and to testify to the truth (“I find no basis for a charge against him,” John 18:38). Second, after the Roman soldiers hailed him as king of the Jews. They were mocking him, but their declaration stands (“I find no basis for a charge against him,” John 19:4). Finally, after he was rejected by the chief priests of the Jews and the other officials who shouted “Crucify! Crucify!” Pilate said, “I find no basis for a charge against this man” (John 19:6; see also Luke 23:4,14,22). There he stood, a lily among thorns, condemned, for our sakes. His body, his life, his mind, his whole heart and spirit were “without defect.” He was and is perfect. This too, gives us confidence about his sacrifice for us. Here was no sinful man forced or duped into laying down his life. Here was the Son of God who gave himself as a ransom for us all (1 Timothy 2:6).
Pastor Timothy Smith