God’s Word for You
Numbers 29:35-40 The full counsel of God
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, January 12, 2022
35 On the eighth day you shall hold a closing ceremony. You shall not do any of your regular work. 36 You are to present a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, with a pleasing aroma to the LORD: one bull, one ram, seven one-year-old male lambs—all without defect— 37 along with their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bull, the ram, and the lambs, according to the amount specified for each of them; 38 also present one male goat for a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain and drink offerings.
This final assembly or worship day followed the Feast of Tabernacles. The offerings were similar, but this was a day of teaching. The people were to gather together to listen to preaching and instruction. Its main purpose was to bring the cycle of yearly festivals to a close. The people would return home after this to anticipate the winter rains, a light dusting of snow in the heights of certain hills, and, six months after this, the return of spring and the Passover celebration. But on this day, there was a “one of everything” offering, apart from seven lambs. The lambs were a final reminder of the holiness given by God and humbly received by man. As always there was a sin offering. Even now, the day after the Feast of Tabernacles, less than two weeks after the great Day of Atonement, sin infected everything in the nation, just as it does throughout the world. The Lord’s Apostle said: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). The need for atonement remained in the Old Testament, even after atonement had been made. But in Christ we have forgiveness that remains, even though sin remains in us. “In him is no sin” (1 John 3:5), that is, in Christ, and in him “we have redemption through his blood, that is, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7). So even though we continue to sin, the atonement for our sin has already been offered. This gracious truth spurs us to avoid sin and even to avoid temptation where possible, so that we will not run into the danger of taking his sacrifice for granted, or of using his blood as an excuse to indulge in “all kinds of passions and pleasures” (Titus 3:3).
39 In addition to your offerings to fulfill a vow and freewill offerings, you shall prepare these for the LORD at your appointed times as your burnt offerings, your grain offerings, your drink offerings, and your fellowship offerings.
This verse reminds the people that these offerings during the festivals were made in addition to the other regular offerings. That is to say, if a festival happened during a new moon, the new moon offering still had to be made. If a Sabbath took place, then the Sabbath offering also had to be made. And the daily lambs for the morning and evening sacrifices still had to be made. These sacrifices of the festivals were also required. They were not freewill offerings. The freewill offerings people brought along to make vows or fulfill them, or to make special celebrations, were separate.
40 Moses told the Israelites everything that the LORD commanded Moses.
The example of Moses is for all preachers and teachers to learn from. What the Lord gave to Moses to tell the people, Moses told the people. Jesus commanded us to make disciples by baptizing and by “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). Teaching the full counsel of God cannot be done in a single year, nor even in three, five, or seven years, from the pulpit. We can touch on doctrines as we preach, but we really need people to get into regular Bible classes. There are between ten and twelve major subjects. Teaching any one of these can take many weeks or even months, and a regular reminder of the life and ministry of Jesus is necessary and vital for our spiritual health:
1, The Scriptures
2, God (Theology in the narrow sense)
3, Creation and Providence
4, Angels and Man
5, The Law and Sin
6, Salvation by Grace through redemption in Jesus Christ
7, The Work of the Holy Spirit
8, The Means of Grace (The Gospel in Word and Sacrament)
9, The Church
10, Civil Estates (such as Government, Marriage)
11, Last Things
In Professor Hoenecke’s “Evangelical Lutheran Dogmatics,” these subjects comprise 91 chapters in four volumes. Just on the subject of Holy Scripture, I have been writing daily devotions on the Scriptures for more than a thousand weeks (1,147), usually 3 to 7 paragraphs per day, and I have not yet touched on Deuteronomy, Chronicles, Ezra, Ezekiel, Zechariah, 2 Timothy or 1 Peter, and other books covered many years ago should be revisited. But since God’s people are blessed, those who walk according to the law (word) of the Lord (Psalm 119:1), I am obligated by my divine call to instruct people in that word of the Lord, both law and gospel, so that Christians can “correctly handle the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) and be ready to confess when they have strayed “like lost sheep” (Psalm 119:176), reaching out to the Lord in repentance. Pray for your pastor, and encourage one another to go to his Bible Classes. Encourage him, as well, so that his task will not always be thankless, but a joy. It is a privilege to teach the Word of God to God’s holy people. “Praise the Lord, O servants of the Lord” (Psalm 113:1), “praise the name of the Lord.”
Pastor Timothy Smith