Christian Churches of God
(Edition 1.1 19990623-19990717)
The concept of sacrifice and an offering is not understood correctly in the Churches. For many years the Church of God has not kept Pentecost correctly and has not really come to an understanding of what is required in the Feasts and the sacrifices. Man should live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, but that is not happening correctly in many areas in the Churches of God. This paper looks at the concept of what a sacrifice is and what the Feasts are.
This paper will discuss the concept of the sacrifice offerings.
Exodus 23:14-20 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. 15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)
Now that’s quite significant and clear. None, not one person, shall appear before the Lord empty.
16 And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field. 17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD (that’s Yahovah Elohim) 18 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning. 19 The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.
The concept here in verses 14 and 15 relates to the statement appear before Me. The concept in the Companion Bible is that this is the current Hebrew text, but it and ten other passages were altered by the Sopherim only in the pointing. The primitive text read (and ought to be) “see My face”. The whole concept of the Face of God was used as a Synecdoche according to Bullinger in the Companion Bible, but the fact of the matter was that the Face of God was the Angel of Yahovah. In verse 20 it continues on:
20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. (KJV)
The Face of God was the Being of the Presence; the Yahovah who appeared with Israel and developed Israel in the Law. The whole concept of the text is that we are not allowed to go before the Face of God in these places, at these times, in these feasts, empty handed.
The Feast of Weeks (or Pentecost) is the second of those three offerings. We have an obligation to meet together for Pentecost and we are not to appear empty handed.
In Acts 2:1 we see that there is a mandatory assembly of the Church at Pentecost.
Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place
It is a Feast where we are required to go away and be assembled with one accord in one place. So, it is not a question of keeping it at home. We are required by God to be at the Feast of Pentecost at the place where He shall choose, in the same manner as the other two Feasts are kept, namely Passover and Tabernacles, and we shall not appear empty handed (Deut. 16:16).
When the day of Pentecost was fully come they were all gathered together. In other words, from the Sabbath they should have been gathered together at the Feast of Pentecost. This is probably the concept of the second Sabbath after the first (the Sabbatton deuteropro) of Luke 6:1.
From the Church’s first observance of Pentecost the Holy Spirit entered those present with great power. They were able to speak in tongues and to perform in prophetic terms and to use or be used of the Holy Spirit. It might be said that an incorrect observance of Pentecost limits the capacity of the Church to be used of the Holy Spirit, stemming from obedience and desire.
From the comments in Deuteronomy 16 we can see from verse 1 the commandments start in the first month and say:
Deuteronomy 16:1 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. (KJV)
This is a repetition of what is being said in Exodus 23.
Deuteronomy 16:2-6 Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there. 3 Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.
Quite obviously when this was written there was no specific place in which the Lord had chosen to place His name. He hadn’t placed His name in Jerusalem solely. When the Law was written, it was written for all time, because Jerusalem was not going to be the place on which the Lord placed His name solely and continually. For the last 2,000 years it has not been the place where He placed His name solely and continually. Since 70 CE Jerusalem has been destroyed and the Church and the Temple has been in the wilderness. Clearly we have an obligation to place the name of the Lord at specific points for these three feasts: Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost and the Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles, or Booths. The Church is vested with the responsibility of placing the name of God in specific locations and we are commanded to be there.
4 And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning. 5 Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee:
Quite clearly we are to be out of our gates for the Passover and we’ll see also that this is commanded for Pentecost and Tabernacles also. This is not an arbitrary or discretionary thing for the individual, nor a discretionary thing for the Church. The church and its leaders are required to select and place the name of the Lord at specific locations. The Passover is clearly and specifically stated as not to be held or eaten within our gates. This instruction leads on then into the other Feasts as we will see.
6 But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt. 7 And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents.
So we are able to go back into our tents or accommodation on the first Holy Day, but we are not to be in our houses or dwellings for Passover.
8 Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work therein. 9 Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn.
This is the first of the barley harvests where the first of the green ears of barley are collected in order to be parched. They are not harvested for grinding; they are green ears. This occurs on the Sunday in the week of Unleavened Bread. The grain develops from this time.
Then we number seven weeks. This is important and we will go into this concept of numbering the seven weeks later on.
10 And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand,
So we are not to come before the Lord empty and we are to go to the place where the Lord sets His name. This obligation is on all people. Leaders of the church have an obligation to set the place for the people to be and nobody is to go there empty handed. There is a tribute offering; a freewill offering of our hand:
...which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
In looking at the Lord’s blessings the offering is to be freely given, and not to be an accusation against God if we did not have the success we would have liked during the previous year
11 And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place his name there.
It is obvious here that the concept of all your males going before the Lord is a mandatory commandment, but they are also accompanied by wives and families. Females on some occasions are prevented from travelling to a certain area, or they can be in child confinement. So the Law does not place any burden upon us that we cannot bear. The law is quite simply on the males. God has told the males to go on their own if their wives are unable to attend. It goes right down to the servants from the families to the Levites and the strangers and the fatherless and the widows who are among us, in the place where the Lord our God has chosen to place His name there.
So, obviously there is a mandatory requirement to select a place to attend with everyone associated with the household and all the people who are dependent upon our production. The Levites are dependent upon our production also. Thus the whole concept resides in the church as the priesthood and all the people associated with the church. It is not confined to Levi and the tithe is not confined to Levi. Abraham paid tithes to Melchisedek before Levi was even born, and our priesthood is a priesthood of Melchisedek, not of Levi. Levi was a transitory priesthood, which becomes part of a larger organisation called the Priesthood of Melchisedek, of and to which Abraham our father tithed, while we were still in his loins. Our priesthood is with Melchisedek, and the tithe has not been ceased or annulled; not since the days of Noah.
Then we go on to the Feast of Tabernacles, which we won’t deal with here.
In Leviticus 23 we will look at some of the orders now from the Wave Sheaf. We are dealing with this count to Pentecost, which is an omer count from nine o’clock in the morning on the Sunday. This is the way it was done in the Temple period under the Sadducees. The rabbinical Jews, (derived from the Pharisees) have it wrong since they left Israel, when they were dispersed. The Wave Sheaf offering was always on Sunday in the Temple Period; always at nine o’clock and one counted fifty days from nine o’clock to nine o’clock, from Sunday to Sunday. That is the way it was done in the Temple period for 1,500 years. That is the way the Samaritans and the Sadducees did it. It did not stop until the successors of the Pharisees started playing with the calendar in the second century CE.
Leviticus 23:9-12 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
The morrow after the Sabbath was the first day of the week, which we call Sunday.
12 And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD. 13 And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. 14 And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
This concept of the parched corn is what is at stake in the Wave Sheaf. We are not allowed to eat the parched corn of the new harvest until that Wave Sheaf. We eat of the old corn of the previous year up until the Wave Sheaf harvest. We will see that in the occupation of Israel under Joshua.
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; seven 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. (KJV)
So there are fifty days with seven complete Sabbaths or weeks. This period commences from the day after the Sabbath and runs through seven complete Sabbaths. These complete Sabbaths or Sabbatons are seven days. There are six days of work leading up to the seventh day of the week, which is the Sabbath day of rest. Seven complete Sabbaths take us up to the seventh Sabbath and then the day after that (the morrow after the Sabbath) is the first day of the week, which we call Sunday. Pentecost has always been on a Sunday in the church for 2,000 years, except for one minor error in the twentieth century.
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 firstfruits unto the LORD.
Now that’s interesting in that these two loaves, the only two loaves in the whole of the sacrificial system which are baked with leavened bread, symbolise the Holy Spirit being received, or due to be received at Pentecost. It pointed towards that day at Pentecost in 30 CE, after the crucifixion of Christ, when the Holy Spirit entered the building in tongues of fire and entered the brethren and converted them.
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 lambs 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 lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21 And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. 22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.
The concept takes us through to the Wave offerings here being for the Priest, because it is the Priesthood that is called out and selected and after the order of Melchisedek, at Pentecost and through to Tabernacles. So the church in the 2,000 years has a Priesthood and a kingdom, taken out, selected and reserved and waved from this 9 a.m. wave offering at Pentecost. So we have the Wave Sheaf offering on the Sunday in the Feast of Unleavened Bread and this other Wave offering which occurs at Pentecost. The Pentecost offering is larger than the Wave Sheaf offering.
So it is obvious that we are dealing with an expansion of the concept in the Wave Sheaf. All of this is so significant in understanding the church and our position. We have an obligation to meet together and travel to be with one another to celebrate this offering and this Feast of Pentecost in the proper spirit in which it was celebrated. It is to be at a place where the Lord our God shall choose and not in our dwellings. The whole feast of Pentecost was taken as one day, but we have a Sabbath as well.
The Sabbath and the day of Pentecost is a two-day feast and we have an obligation to travel to be at the two-day feast. It does not say two times a year and Pentecost if we get around to it. It says the last one is Tabernacles. It does not say Tabernacles or perhaps Passover and Pentecost if we think that is all right. It says keep Passover and Unleavened Bread seven days and we are not to sacrifice the Passover in any of our dwellings. A lot of people somehow think this is some private interpretation. Scripture is of no private interpretation. This language is clear language. Because some of the Church of God didn’t keep Passover and Pentecost properly in their previous organisations and are now being faced with the fact of keeping it properly, does not make it a private interpretation. It means that they were completely wrong before, and that they were not obeying God. It’s not a matter of private interpretation or our decision. We have no say in it. We keep God’s law and go to the Feasts or we cut ourselves out of the Kingdom of God. There is one choice only: Obey God or do not obey God. If the Lord is God then worship Him, as He commands.
We will look at Ecclesiastes 12.
Ecclesiastes 12:12-14 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. 13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (KJV)
So there is no doubt that these are the commandments of God and that it is the whole duty of man to do those commandments. Our decision is whether we will obey God or whether we won’t. The church must perform the duties imposed upon it through the commandments of God, and in doing that we are then able to make our decisions and to do the things that are imposed upon us. If we decide that the race is too hard and we give it up, that is our decision. We have to run the race as though we will win and we have to run it continually. We have to set the pace so that we can endure to the end. Many people run it in short dashes. A lot of people think it is an intellectual exercise. They read the Bible and think that by reading it they don’t have to do anything about it, or they’ve got a discretionary purpose, or somebody else is telling them otherwise.
God set a calendar and He has given us laws so we know what to do. We have been placed in a very, very significant position. We have been given an opportunity in the first resurrection and an opportunity to enter the Kingdom of God above millions and millions of people. It would be stupid to throw away an opportunity of such awesome magnitude, because we were too idle to go to a feast, or simply decided that we didn’t have to, or we did not want to, or we had not done it previously. Any man who diminishes the commandments of God, will be counted least in the kingdom of God. People who do this will themselves not be in the first resurrection. In the second resurrection, people who threw it away will be faced with the opportunity of saying ‘but I followed him’. But they followed him into the second resurrection and it is too late when told that fact in the second resurrection. Our opportunity is now and we would be foolish to throw it away.
We should think about what we are doing. The church has an obligation to help us and we all have an obligation to meet and we cannot meet empty handed at any one of those feasts. All feasts have to be kept.
If we give our ways to God, He will establish our thoughts. It is not the other way around. Keep the feasts correctly and He will give us more understanding.