And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…
The Old Testament, says Augustine, "when rightly understood, is one grand prophecy of the New." The New Testament is the key to the Old.
I. THE MOON WAS A SYMBOL OF THE CHURCH.
1. Its luster sets forth her beauty.
(1) Even in our Northern climate the moon is a beautiful object; but in Oriental skies she is remarkably so. Solomon compares the beauty of the bride to that of the moon (Song of Solomon 6:10).
(2) She shines in a light borrowed from the sun. So is the luster of Jesus the loveliness of his Church (see Isaiah 30:26; comp. Matthew 5:14 with John 8:12; Revelation 12:1; Revelation 21:23).
(3) As the moon enlightens the darkness in the absence of the sun, so is the Church the light of the world in the absence of her Lord (see Matthew 5:14; John 1:4; John 9:5; Philippians 2:15). All men should be attracted to the communion of the Church by the charms of her beauty. Professors should beware how they may hinder this issue by their inconsistencies.
2. Its changes set forth her vicissitudes.
(1) The renewals of the moon will represent the dispensations through which she passes. Thus the patriarchal, which is divided into two ages, viz. that before the Flood, and that which followed. The Mosaic, which also is divided into two ages, viz. that of the tabernacle and that of the temple, the latter being more eminently the age of prophecy. The Christian dispensation likewise is distributed into two ages, viz. the present militant and suffering age, and the triumphant age of the millennium to come. Perhaps the seventh moon may then anticipate the celestial state to follow (see Isaiah 60:19, 20).
(2) The phases through which each moon pasts will represent corresponding minor changes in the Church. She too has her waxings and wanings. Sometimes she is brightened by revivals of purity and zeal, which are followed by seasons of apostasy and degeneration. Sometimes she rejoices in seasons of peace and prosperity; then suffers persecutions and reverses.
II. THE SEVENTH WAS DISTINGUISHED AMONG THE MOONS.
1. It was a high sabbath.
(1) The new moons were all observed as sabbaths. No servile work was done in any of them (see Amos 8:5). They were memorials of the believers' rest from servility to Satan.
(2) But this moon was the beginning of the civil year, and is believed to be the time of the Creation, when vegetable nature was in perfection. It gratefully commemorated the old Creation. It joyfully anticipated the new.
2. It was a holy convocation.
(1) The people assembled for worship. This is God's order. Those who neglect public worship under the pretext of "worshipping the God of nature in the fields," follow their own order.
(2) In company, they heard the Word of God (see 2 Kings 4:23; Isaiah 66:23; Ezekiel 46:1; Amos 8:5).
(3) They feasted together upon the sacrifices (Numbers 28:11-15). Thus they anticipated the spiritual festivities of the gospel, and the glorious festivities of heaven.
(4) They rejoiced in the light of the moon (Psalm 81:3; Psalm 89:15, 16). If the Psalmist rejoiced in the anticipation of the light of the gospel moon, how much more should we rejoice under that light?
3. It was a memorial of blowing of trumpets.
(1) The trumpets were blown upon every moon, but on the seventh so signally that it thence became distinguished as the Feast of Trumpets. The trumpeting began at sunrise and continued till sundown. This moon not only ushered in the new month, as the others did, but also the new (civil) year.
(2) The trumpets were sounded over the sacrifices. These were in greater number. There were net only the daily sacrifices, which were never superseded, and the ordinary sacrifices of the moons, but burnt offerings, meat and drink offerings, and a sin offering, proper to this feast (Numbers 29:2-6). The sounding of the trumpets over these indicated the preaching of the gospel to be the preaching of the cross of Christ (see Isaiah 27:13).
(3) The trumpeting was in memorial. If it referred to the giving of the Law, we are reminded of the trumpet that then sounded from Sinai; and the gospel law was sounded out from Sion. If the memorial referred to the Creation, then we are reminded that the Psalmist calls the word by which God made the world, "the voice of his thunder" (Psalm 104:7). We are also reminded of the singing of the morning stars and shouting of the sons of God (Job 38:6, 7). The shouting and thundering at the Creation and at the giving of the Law and the preaching of the gospel are but the echoes of the voices and trumpeting of the Judgment of the great day. "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." When the last trumpet is sounded, it will be, as on the Feast of Trumpets, at the finishing of the gathering of all the fruits of the earth. - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,