GREATER AND LESSER SABBATHS
This chapter demonstrates that the more important Sabbaths required more sacrifices. It is also important to note that, except for the weekly Sabbath, all other Sabbaths were determined by the new moon and could fall on any day of the week! Also, each greater Sabbath provided more rest, more release and more restoration.
Again, the seasonal Sabbath days were determined, not by the weekly cycle, but by the moon. In addition to the first day of each month being a Sabbath day, all of the seasonal Hebrew feasts and Sabbath days were determined by counting from the first of the month.
Although Seventh-day Adventists disagree, the monthly and seasonal Sabbath days were equally commanded by God. A Hebrew man was to be “cut off” from Israel for failure to comply to expected attendance on many of these days.
Ex. 12:16 And in the first day [of the third month] there shall be a holy convocation, and in the seventh day [of the third month] there shall be a holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, except that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
Ex. 13:9 And it [the Passover] shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD’s law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt.
Lest too much significance be placed on the seventh-day Sabbath, the first two Sabbath days given to Israel were associated with the Passover, and not the end of the week! Failure to observe the Passover also resulted in being “cut off” from Israel (12:15, 19). Preceding the seventh-day Sabbath, but like the seventh-day Sabbath, the Passover was also a “sign” and a “memorial” only to national Israel as a reminder of their every-day rest from Egyptian slavery.
Lev. 23:2 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
Leviticus 23 is a discussion of all Sabbath days except those of the new moon. They are all called “feasts,” or “festivals,” with their holy “convocations.” In comparison, these are even greater Sabbath days than the weekly Sabbath, thus requiring more sacrifices with the seventh-day weekly Sabbath at the bottom and the greatest Jubilee Sabbath at the top.
DAILY ANIMAL SACRIFICES: NUMBERS 28:3
Numb. 28:3 This is the offering made by fire which you shall offer to the LORD — two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering.
Although this is not specifically a Sabbath text, it is foundational to all of the required Sabbath animal sacrifices. It also provides context for the “evening-morning,” or “continual,” sacrifices so prominent in discussions of Daniel 8:14.
THE WEEKLY SABBATH DAY
Lev. 23:3 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, a holy convocation; you shall do no work therein; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
Numb. 28:9 And on the Sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot…..
Numb. 28:10 This is the burnt offering of every Sabbath, in addition to the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.
While Numbers 28 and 29 seem unimportant to most, the SDA contention that the seventh-day Sabbath was more important than the other Sabbaths becomes very questionable because its required animal sacrifices were less than the other Sabbath days. The daily two lambs were the only required sacrifices of the Hebrew year that were less than those of the Sabbath day!
THE MONTHLY NEW MOON SABBATH DAY
Numb. 28:11 And in the beginnings of your months you shall offer a burnt offering to the LORD; two young bulls, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot.
Numb. 28:15 And one kid of the goats for a sin offering to the LORD shall be offered, in addition to the continual burnt offering and his drink offering. (See also 10:10.)
DAILY: “continual” 2 lambs burnt offering; Numb. 28:3
SABBATH: WEEKLY: additional 2 lambs burnt offering; Numb. 28:9-10
SABBATH: MONTHLY: additional 2 bulls, 1 ram and 7 lambs for the burnt offering, plus 1 goat for a sin offering; Numb. 28:11-15
The new moon Sabbath days were determined by the first confirmed sighting of the new moon around Jerusalem. In addition to the normal daily burnt offering sacrifices of two lambs, there were added two bullocks, one ram, and seven lambs for burnt offerings, plus one goat for a sin offering. Also, if the new moon fell on a weekly Sabbath, all three sets of sacrifices were required. While the congregational sin offering was made on monthly and seasonal Sabbath days, it was not made on the weekly Sabbath day! Notice that, as the importance of the Sabbath day increased beyond the weekly Sabbath day, so did the sacrificial offerings.
SEASONAL SABBATH DAYS
SABBATH: PASSOVER: 3rd month. Calculated from the new moon.
14th day: add Passover lamb; Numb. 28:16; Lev. 23:5
15th day; Numb. 28:18; Lev. 23:7
add per day: 2 bulls, 1 ram, 7 lambs; goats; 15th to 21st days;
Total: 14 bulls, 7 rams, 49 lambs, 7 goats; Numb. 28:17-22
21st day; Numb. 28:25; Lev. 23:8
22nd day: Lev. 23:11-14 wave sheaf offering; one lamb
SABBATH; FEAST OF WEEKS: Calculated from the new moon.
add 2 bulls, ram, 7 lambs; goat; Numb. 28:26-31; Lev. 23:15-21
SABBATH: ATONEMENT: 7th month new moon; Numb. 29:1-38; Lev. 23:25-36
add 1 bull, 1 ram, 7 lambs; goat; Numb. 29:1-6; Lev. 23:25-27
SABBATH: ATONEMENT: 10TH DAY; YOM KIPPUR; JUDGMENT
add 2 goats: atonement and scapegoat; Lev. 16
add 1 bull, 1 ram, 7 lambs; goat; Numb. 29:7-11;Lev. 23:28-32
SABBATH: BOOTHS: 15TH DAY Calculated from the new moon.
15th day (1) add 13 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs; goat; Numb. 29:12-38; Lev. 23
16th day (2) add 12 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs; goat
17th day (3) add 11 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs; goat
18th day (4) add 10 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs; goat
19th day (5) add 9 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs; goat
20th day (6) add 8 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs; goat
21st day (7) add 7 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs; goat
22nd day (8) add 1 bull, 1 ram, 7 lambs; goat
The Passover Sabbath was on a full moon fourteen (14) days from the new moon of the third month. It usually did not fall on the seventh-day Sabbath. Two more Passover Sabbaths on the first and seventh feast days were also to be observed as “a statute for ever throughout your generations.”
The Feast of Harvest Sabbath, or Pentecost, began on a Sabbath that was not necessarily the seventh-day Sabbath. Its’ occurrence fifty days after the first-fruit barley wave sheaf was determined by whatever day the first of the month fell on for the Passover. The seven “Sabbaths” preceding it were “weeks” and not actual Sabbath days unless they coincided. Like the seventh-day Sabbath it was a “statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.”
The New Moon Sabbath of the seventh month began the countdown to the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur Sabbath. The Day of Atonement was the most important Sabbath day of the Hebrew year and it was not necessarily on the seventh day of the week either!
The Feast of Booths contained two Sabbath days: on the 15th and 22nd days of the seventh month. Like all of the other non-weekly Sabbaths, this final yearly Sabbath day was also determined by the new moon and also did not usually fall on the seventh-day Sabbath. It pointed back to the wilderness wanderings and also pointed forward to the Messianic peace in the Promised Land. It lasted eight days and required a total of 71 bullocks, 15 rams, 105 lambs, and 8 goats.
In conclusion, we have seen that the seventh-day weekly Sabbath required the least sacrifices, the smallest congregations, and was but the beginning Sabbath for all of the more important yearly Sabbaths.
Lev. 25:4 But in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of rest to the land, a Sabbath for the LORD: you shall neither sow your field, nor prune your vineyard. (See Lev. 25:1-7; Deut. 15:1-11; 31:10-13.)
Every seventh year, during the Feast of Tabernacles, the Sabbath year began. Whereas the weekly, monthly, and yearly Sabbaths gave occasional rest to the people, every seventh year the land rested every day all year along with the people who farmed the land. No sowing, reaping, or pruning was allowed. All ate from whatever grew spontaneously. No tithes were given (or received) every seventh year.
More important, the Sabbath year was a year of “release” for Israelites. Debts were to be either forgotten, or (as some understand) not collected during this year. All in the land were to freely eat in accordance with their daily needs. Special attention was to be given to the poor and needy in the land. Thus, the Sabbath YEAR, provided far more every-day rest and hope than did the Sabbath DAY.
JUBILEE: EVERY 50TH YEAR
Lev. 25:10 And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee to you; and you shall return every man to his possession, and you shall return every man to his family.
Lev. 25:11 A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be to you: you shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of your vine undressed.
Lev. 25:12 For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy to you: you shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. (See Lev. 25:8-16, 23-55.)
Isa. 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
Almost everything connected with the number, “seven,” has significance in the Bible, i.e.: the seventh day, the seventh month, the seventh year. Seven times seven weeks (49 weeks) led up to the (50th) Feast of Weeks when the final full harvest began, when the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai was commemorated, and when the Holy Spirit fell on the church at Pentecost. The Bible also uses the number, 70, and 7 x 70, or 490.
However, the crown of all Sabbaths was to be seen in the Jubilee, the 50th YEAR following the seventh Sabbatical year. Like the Sabbath year, the land and its farmers were to have every day total rest and live off what was produced without labor.
While it is debated whether or not the Sabbath year required the total release of debts, or merely their temporary non-collection, there is no question about the Jubilee year. All Israelite debts were to be wiped off the books. All land was to revert to its original owners. All Israelites who had sold themselves into slavery were to be released. It was THE year of LIBERTY, of total restoration. And, as such, the Jubilee Sabbath year provided more every day physical REST than all of the other Sabbaths combined. This Sabbath year of all Sabbath years was also the Sabbath of all Sabbaths.