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Reviews | Offerings Feasts & Sanctuary

Offerings, Feasts and Sanctuary

F. E. Mitchell

Paperback or e-book (ePub)

160 pages

Offerings, Feasts and Sanctuary

The Testimony review (from April 1975)

Offerings and Feasts

WE HAVE IN circulation several works on the Law including The Law of Moses by Robert Roberts and Law and Grace by W. F. Barling. This smaller work offers a suitable introduction to the subject, and is enlivened by a number of up-to-date applications to our own circumstances.

The opening paragraph on “The Offerings of the Lord” sets the general emphasis of the work. Brother Mitchell writes, “The offerings made to the Lord under the Law of Moses were five in number and together they make a complete prophecy of the work of Jesus, with all the blessings and responsibilities which he brought to men. No single one of them could express the whole truth. Each revealed a different aspect.”

The identification of the offerer with the offering is clearly set forth. He writes, “… the offerer was to place his hand (or, literally, bear his whole weight) on the head of the offering. By this action he identified himself with the sacrifice, recognising that he himself had deserved death for sin, and ensuring that it should be accepted for him, to make an atonement for him.” Later he comments, “The placing of the offerer’s hand on the animal’s head prefigures our identifying of ourselves with Jesus”.

An interesting parallel is drawn between the crucifixion and the killing of the sacrifice on the north side of the altar. To quote again, “We have seen that there is reason to believe that the slaying always took place on the north side of the altar. So Jesus was crucified on the north side of Jerusalem. The ashes were removed to a clean place outside the camp.”

In referring to the meat (meal) offering he interprets the rather obscure passage in Isaiah 7:15 in an original way. He writes, “Honey is sweet to the taste but excess can be upsetting. So the writer to the Proverbs says, ‘It is not good to eat much honey’. Indulgence in the pleasures that life can afford is good to an extent, but over indulgence can destroy spiritual life. The life of Jesus was perfectly balanced. To use the figure of the prophet Isaiah, he partook of butter and honey and knew how to choose the good of the milk of the Word and refuse the evil of allowing honeyed pleasures to turn him from his mission.”

Of particular interest to us are the parallels the writer draws between the sins for which the trespass offerings were made and our present-day life. One example will illustrate this. Under the heading, “Taking by violence”, he says, “This does not refer only to the use of force. It refers also to the domination of others by strong-willed determined persons, thus violently ravaging their personalities. The true follower of Jesus will always respect the personalities and consciences of his fellow believers.”

He has an excellent paragraph on “Acceptable Worship”. To quote again, “Two points are emphasised by these requirements. First the intensely personal nature of worship. Nothing can be done by proxy; a man is alone with God. Also although he may always be in tune with his Maker, wherever he may be, the emblems of worship must be used in the place chosen by God and in the company of fellow worshippers. Full worship cannot be carried out in solitude. The service must, whenever possible, be enjoyed in the assembly of the believers in the Ecclesia, ‘not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is’, protesting that they can worship in solitude without attending assemblies of those with whom they share their Faith.” In this connection he notes that, “No unclean person was to eat of the sacrifice of the peace offering on pain of exclusion from the people, a fact which emphasises our need for circumspection in partaking of the breaking of bread memorials … The Deity insists that those who partake of the memorials of the Lord are dealing with holy things.”

In speaking of the Feast of Trumpets he draws an interesting conclusion when he notes that the period between Pentecost and the Feast of Trumpets was variable in length. He suggests, “We have no Divine calendar, and, thus, though we know that we are near the Lord’s coming, we know not the day nor the hour.”

The Atonement is dealt with in considerable detail and much is clarified by information provided by Dr. Edersheim on Jewish practices.

The two verses at the end form an appropriate epilogue:

Beneath Thy touch, beneath Thy smile
New heavens and earth appear,
No sin their beauty to defile
Or dim them with a tear.

Thrice happy hour and those thrice-blessed
Who gather round Thy throne;
They share the honour of Thy rest
Who have Thy conflict known.

H. J. SALTER

(Originally published in the April 1975 edition of The Testimony Magazine (pages 158-159), and is reproduced by kind permission.)

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