Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Leviticus: Fellowship With A Holy God
Part III: Acceptable Living Before A Holy God, Leviticus 11:1-27:34
M. Honoring God's Great Works In History
1. Honoring God's Authorship And Rule Of Creation
(Leviticus 23:1-3 et al.)
  1. Introduction
    1. Though the feasts in Leviticus 23 were regularly observed in Israel's calendar year, each one prophetically typified a key event of God's work with Israel in history, J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible, vol. I, p. 426.
    2. The weekly Sabbath as described in Leviticus 23:3 was observed each week where the others in this chapter were heeded once a year, and it recalls the important truth that God is Creator of heaven and earth, and deserves the devotion of His people as sole God versus devotion to any other god (as follows):
  2. Honoring God's Authorship And Rule Of Creation, Leviticus 23:1-3 et al.
    1. Leviticus 23:1-2 reveals the chapter names the feasts the nation was to observe in honor of the Lord.
    2. Now, the six feasts of Leviticus 23:4-44, the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread (Lev. 23:4-8), the Feast of Firstfruits (Lev. 23:9-14), the Feast of Pentecost (Lev. 23:15-22), the Feast of Trumpets (Lev. 23:23-25), the Day of Atonement (Lev. 23:26-32) and the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:33-44) were all observed ONCE a YEAR in CONTRAST to the Leviticus 23:3 Sabbath that was observed WEEKLY!
    3. Understanding the prophetic significance of each feast explains why the Sabbath Day was included here:
      1. Passover prophetically anticipated Christ's substitutionary atonement, 1 Corinthians 5:7, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread associated with it anticipates the resulting holy lives of believers, 1 Cor. 5:8.
      2. The Feast of Firstfruits anticipated Christ's resurrection, the firstfruits from the dead, 1 Cor. 15:22-23.
      3. The Feast of Pentecost anticipated the beginning of the Church on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2:1-4.
      4. The Feast of Trumpets anticipates Israel's future restoration to the Promised Land, Ibid., p. 427.
      5. The Day of Atonement anticipates Israel's cleansing from sin after the Tribulation, Zech. 12:9-13:1.
      6. The Feast of Tabernacles anticipates Israel's Messianic Kingdom blessings, cf. Zechariah 14:16-19.
      7. Thus, since the Feast of the Sabbath Day precedes all of these events involving Christ's interaction with Israel, and that are listed in chronological order, it typifies a key work of God comes before the cross!
    4. Well, Exodus 20:9-11 reveals this event was God's creation of the universe. In view of Israel's formation and role in the ancient world, this would have been the core truth of her witness in antiquity (as follows):
      1. Israel's great calling was to be a testimony of God as Creator of heaven and earth in contrast to the pagans around her who held to local deities, Bruce K. Waltke, Creation and Chaos, 1974, p. 47.
      2. These pagans also saw the seventh day as one of bad luck; they "feared their work would not prosper on the seventh, fourteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-eighth day of the month connected with the four phases of the moon," Ibid., p. 65.
      3. Yet, in contrast to this debased view of the seventh day, Genesis 1:1-2:3 explained God created the universe in six days, and that He rested on the seventh day, making it a special day of blessing.
      4. Besides, pagans viewed themselves as slaves to the gods of creation in great contrast to Israel who had her God supply her blessed rest from her labors on the seventh day, Ibid., p. 65; Heb. 4:4-10.
      5. Accordingly, as a testimony to the Sovereign God of Heaven and Earth that Israel worshipped in contrast to the local false deities of her pagan neighbors; in contrast to the pagan view that man was a slave to the gods of creation unlike Israel was blessed with rest from her Creator; in contrast to the negative connotation to every seventh day of the month that was held by pagans, Israel was to be at rest in God's gracious blessing! Thus, the keeping of the weekly Sabbath became Israel's key witness about God and the truth of His grace to these oppressive errors of the pagans, Ex. 31:16-17.
      6. In this way, the weekly Sabbath is rightly included in Israel's list of feasts: it testifies of the Creator of the universe and His gracious relation to man as a needed precedent to Christ's gracious work to come!
Lesson: Israel was to honor God as gracious Creator of the universe via keeping the weekly Sabbaths.

Application: May we recall that God is our Gracious CREATOR, that there is no other God but Him, and that we owe Him all our devotion, love and obedience versus every other idol, cf. 1 John 5:21.