Beckett: Pastoral Thoughts – Daily Sacrifices in Old Testament Israel (Exodus 29:38-43)

“‘Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs a year-old day by day regularly. One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight. And with the first lamb and a tenth seah of fine flour mingled with a fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and a fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering. The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it a grain offering and its drink offering, as in the morning, for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the LORD. It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the LORD, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by My glory'” (Exodus 29:38-43).

It is impossible to read these instructions for daily sacrifice without thinking of Christ. The author of Hebrews sees Christ as the fulfilment of this as well. “And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until His enemies should be made a footstool for His feet. For by a single offering, He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:11-14).

The sacrifice of Christ did what these daily sacrifices could not do. Daily sacrifices were required because every human is a daily sinner! But Christ, by His holy and innocent blood, covers all our sins. As John the Baptiser announced, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

Moreover, why shouldn’t we have the Eucharist every Sunday? Some congregations are not in the practice of having the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day. The excuse I often hear is that it’s always been tradition to do it every other Sunday, which is a rubbish argument. Why keep the Lord’s body and blood from your lips twice or even thrice a month? Christ’s blood has covered all our sins for all of time, certainly, but we are still in daily need of forgiveness. Why, then, keep His gracious gift from our lips when we are never without need of His grace? This is an error many congregations unfortunately make.

Still, I don’t want to make the weekly reception of the Supper into a law, for that too would be an error. The Supper is always grace, never law. Therefore, to prescribe the Supper as law would be just as great an error. It is true that there is no Scriptural mandate on how frequently the Lord’s Supper is to be given. Yet as sinners who are in daily need of forgiveness, I maintain the question: Why refuse weekly reception of His grace when the need is ever present? Therefore, I strongly urge regular use of the Lord’s Supper. There can be no good reason not to receive such grace on a regular, weekly basis.

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