We are still reading about the laws which were given to the people through Moses. Chapter 23 starts out with laws I call “attitudes of justice.”
The Hebrews are not supposed to make false reports against each other, or take bribes, or oppress strangers. Neither are they to be partial to someone just because they are poor.
All of these laws are familiar to us today, as we attempt to be honorable people.
In 23:14, we are introduced to three feasts which are to be instituted. We will hear about these several times in the Old Testament. I think of them as a way of introducing the Jews to the experiences Jesus , the Savior, would lead us into.
The first feast is the Passover, preceded by the Feast Of Unleavened Bread. This feast represents the born again experience, when we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. He is the Passover Lamb sent by God for the final sacrifice. When they observe Passover, they are pointing to that fact.
The second feast is the Feast Of Pentecost. (They have other names for it: Feast of Harvest or Feast of First fruits). In the Christian life, this represents the Day of Pentecost, when Jesus waved the First Fruits before the Father.
These first fruits were the new believers who had received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts. The Holy Spirit entered the hearts of the people and they became empowered to be the witnesses of Jesus to the world. By the way, this happened on the Jewish Day of Pentecost.
The third feast is The Feast Of Ingathering (or the Feast of Booths, or Feast of Tabernacles). This feast represents the believer’s walk closely with the Lord – worshiping, praising, and living for Jesus in the new covenant.
The Lord then reminds the people that He will send an angel before them and they must obey this angel. He will lead them to the new land, the promised land.
Imagine yourself being a part of this group. Every day must have been full of surprises, as they were introduced to God’s concepts. He was obviously full of great power, but sometimes he must have seemed very strict. He had to be strict. He was leading these people into a new life – a life filled with tremendous blessing, but also tremendous responsibility.
Tomorrow there will be more on the pattern of the tabernacle. Lots of symbolism there also.
Matthew 21: 1-22
Wasn’t Jesus bold? When you think about the fact that so many Pharisees and Sadducees were following Him and harassing Him, His boldness was amazing. he never flinched; He just grew bolder.
As Jesus was to enter Jerusalem, He sent for what He needed – a donkey and a colt, so that He might ride on them.
Later as we read in the Old Testament, we will see how the Ark of the Covenant would be carried amidst praise. During that time in history, the Ark represented the glory of God. As He made His entrance into Jerusalem in this way, Jesus was showing the people that He was the glory of God. He was being praised and honored by those who cried out Hosanna.
He then proceeds to drive the money changers from the temple. They were defiling the temple by using every opportunity to make a profit. Their hearts weren’t toward the purpose of the sacrifices; they just wanted the money for the doves.
Verse 15 is interesting. When the chief priests saw what “wonderful things” He had done, and the children who were praising Him, they “became indignant.” Can you say, “jealous?”
I am skipping the Fig Tree episode here, because I like the Mark account so much.