The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Leviticus 23

Lev 23:1

Lev 23: "The walk of fellowship... relates to the essential festivals that the Israelites were called upon to observe... The festivals are defined as 'set times' appointed by Yahweh. At those times Israel 'met' with God in the various particulars in which He was revealed to the people.

"In addition, the festivals of Lev 23 set forth the purpose of Yahweh as a prophecy foreshadowing developments to be revealed at the 'set times' as He appoints, as follows: (1) The Sabbath [v 3] -- with its typical week -- emphasizes the purpose of Yahweh to be consummated at the millennium, the seventh from creation (see Exo 20:11). (2) The Passover [vv 5-8; Exo 12:16] speaks of separation, deliverance, and redemption: the means whereby the millennium can be attained. It is fulfilled in 'Christ our Passover'. (3) The Feast of weeks [Num 28:26] commemorates the giving of the Law (Exo 19:1). The antitype of this was the preaching at Pentecost. (4) The Day of Atonement [v 27; Num 29:7] provides the means of forgiveness when the law was broken, suggesting the Judgment Seat of Christ. (5) The Feast of Tabernacles [vv 35,36] introduces the harvest rejoicing, as typical of the ingathering of all the redeemed in the future.

"It is important to notice that the festivals foreshadow the divinely directed steps towards salvation. First there is separation, then acknowledgment of the requirements of law, and obedience, the covering provided on the national day of judgment, and finally rejoicing at the ingathering of the harvest, anticipating the final joy of the future" (Expos).

Lev 23:2

SACRED ASSEMBLIES: The AV has, most expressively, "holy convocations". These were meetings of a religious character as distinguished from "congregations", which were more general, dealing with political and legal matters.

Lev 23:11

THE DAY AFTER THE SABBATH: Not the day following the weekly sabbath of the Passover week, but the day following the great feast day, no matter what day of week it fell on. Thus the day after sabbath = 16th Nisan (Temple 257). Cp vv 24,32,39. 16th Abib = day of Christ's resurrection (John 20:17).

This is fitting, in that Jesus was the "firstfruits" (cp 1Co 15:23), and through him, we also are to be "a kind of firstfruits" (Jam 1:18).

Lev 23:15

Vv 15-22: 3rd Holy convocation. Called "feast of weeks" (Exo 34:22), "feast of harvest" (Exo 23:16), day of firstfruits (Num 28:26), and Pentecost (in NT).

Lev 23:17

TWO LOAVES: Jews and Gentiles, both to be finally admitted to the covenant -- through the preaching of the gospel.

YEAST: Corruption; sin: a humble recognition of sinfulness. Also, Lev 7:13. Christ came in flesh of sin.

Lev 23:23

Vv 23-25: Fourth holy convocation: Feast of trumpets.

Lev 23:24

SEVENTH MONTH... TRUMPET BLASTS: Cp the 7th trumpet of Rev: "the finishing of the mystery of God" (Rev 10:7). "The dead shall be raised" (1Co 15:52; 1Th 4:13-17).

Lev 23:26

Vv 26-32: 5th holy convocation: Day of atonement; 10th day of 7th month. The day of judgment, when each man afflicts his own soul: Rom 14:10; Heb 9:24-28.

Lev 23:27

THE TENTH DAY OF THIS SEVENTH MONTH: This, the only day of the year when regular daily temple sacrifices were suspended (Ber 66:207; Lev 16:17). The High Priest alone went about his special duties in the Holy Place.

"A strict fast was commanded, a solemn affliction of soul in which all have to take part. Even strangers who happen to be in Israel at the time are required to conform... Could there be anything else akin to this experience? Men often feel a nervous tension when they have to enter the presence of a human king. At such a time they would not forget any of the instruction they have received from courtiers. Yet with amazing perverseness they may be free from all such strain when they approach God. They are quite at ease so long as there is nothing seen or heard to arouse fear. They may address the Creator with thoughts only half in attendance and with a ready forgetfulness of heaven's etiquette. They even resent and resist the most reasonable claim that God will be honoured and sanctified in those who approach Him. It seems that only drastic judgements can teach men this elementary lesson. Aaron had suffered in this matter, through the death of his sons [Lev 10], and he will not forget" (IC, Tes 73:11,12).

Lev 23:29

See Zec 12:10.

Lev 23:30

Vv 30-43: 6th and 7th of 7 holy convocations: 1st day of Feast of Tabernacles (15th day of 7th month) and 1st day after end of Feast (22nd day).

Lev 23:32

A SABBATH OF REST: "Sabbath of sabbath", a great sabbath.

Lev 23:34

See Zec 8:20-23; 14:16.

Lev 23:36

THE CLOSING ASSEMBLY: The final day of the cycle. On the very last "final day" Jesus stood up at said: "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink" (Joh 7:37). A true new beginning!

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