« ÖncekiDevam »
It is expressly said that the first-fruits were to be offered unto God, on the morrow after the sabbath;" that is, on the day following the paschal sabbath. With what peculiar propriety then does the apostle to the Corinthians exclaim, “Now is Christ risen from the dlead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept,"* for this was the very day on which the Saviour rose, the Christian's Sunday. He had died on the day on which the paschal lamb was sacrificed, the day before the sabbath, to prove that he was indeed “the very paschal lamb;" and now he rises from the grave, on the day succeeding the sabbath, the same day that the sheaf of the in-coming harvest was always waved before the Lord, to demonstrate with equal precision that he was the first-born from the dead, and had become the first-fruits of them that slept. Thus, was he pre-eminently the forerunner of that mighty harvest which he had purchased for himself, and which shall all come in, every sheaf like the full shock of corn in his season, until it shall fill the garners of heaven, and make the songs of joy and gladness, (of which the harvest-homes of earth are but a faint and shadowy type,) resound throughout the many mansions of his Father's house.
* 1 Cor. xv. 20.
CHAP. xxiii. 15—20.
15. And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seden sabbaths shall be complete:
16. Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord.
17. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves, of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the first-fruits unto the Lord.
18. And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish, of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the Lord, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the Lord.
19. Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lumbs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings.
20. And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits, for a wave offering before the Lord, with the two lamus: they shall be holy to the Lord for the priest.
In the last exposition we reviewed the renewal of the institution of the feast of the passover: in the verses we have just read we have the appointment of the feast of pentecost. You will observe that it was to take place seven weeks after the passover; or, as it is expressed, "ye shall number fifty days.” This is the reason that it was called pentecost, from the Greek word, penteconta, fifty. It was instituted in remembrance of the giving the law from Mount Sinai, which occurred on the fiftieth day after the Israelites had been delivered from their Egyptian bondage.
As the former feast marked the commencement of the corn-harvest, and was celebrated by waving a handful of the ripe corn before the Lord, so this feast was intended to honour the close of the same harvest, and was to be distinguished by “waving two loaves of the fine new flour, baken with leaven, before the Lord,” in grateful acknowledgment that he who sent the harvest, had given them power to reap and to enjoy it. There was a remarkable addition at this feast to the sacrifices and peace-offerings, namely, “ Ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering." Coming, as it did, at the close of the harvest, “when they had eaten and were full," it was highly probable, that like the sons of Job, “in the days of their feasting” “they might have sinned in their hearts;" and, therefore, God mercifully provided the remedy, which at the former and less joyous festival was not required. The hint suggested by it, will not be lost upon the reflecting Christian in the days of his prosperity; more especially if he be a member of that church which teaches her children to pray, “ In all time of our wealth, good Lord, deliver us!”
There is something very affecting to the Christian in thus tracing, not only all his mercies, but every portion of all his mercies, to a Father's hand; that they begin, continue, and end in God; that He who gives him wisdom to sow, and patience to wait, and strength to reap, gives him also the joy, and comfort, and nourishment that flow in the ordinary course of things from these employments. At the end of the Christian course, the believer will probably look back with something of the same feelings as the Israelite at the close of his harvest. He will remember the day when he entered by God's grace upon the holy and happy occupations of a Christian life, when the seed was sown. He will recollect the joy with which he presented “the first-fruits” of his heart, the first accents of praise and gratitude, to the Almighty; a thank-offering for the great, the abounding mercies, which then, for the first time, lay spread before his eyes in all the spiritual blessings, to a rich participation in which, through the merits of his Redeemer, he had been so lately awakened by the divine power of the Holy Ghost. And now, when the grain is sown, and when the harvest is finished, when he is able to say with the apostle, “The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day,”* he still can only again offer his “firstfruits” unto God, the same at the close of harvest, as at the beginning of the seed-time, and say, Thanks be unto Him, who is the Author and Finisher of my faith, by whom alone I was enabled to sow, and through whom alone I am permitted to reap. His present more complete and triumphant thanksgiving may differ, indeed, as much from his former offering, as the two fine wheaten loaves at the end of the harvest, from the handful of grain at the beginning; but
they will still be equally inadequate to express all that he feels, and all that he hopes to feel, of grateful love to God in Christ Jesus throughout eternity.
CHAP. xxiii. 21, 22.
21. And ye shall proclaim on the self-same day, that it may be a holy condocation unto you; ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.
While speaking of the passover in a preceding section, we were reminded of the fact of our Saviour's death taking place upon the day on which the paschal lamb was offered, and his resurrection occurring upon the day of the waving the first-fruits of the corn before the Lord. Another great event was appointed by the Almighty to honour the feast to which the scripture we have read refers. For we are informed in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, that “when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” How peculiarly ap