And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…
Seven in Scripture is a very remarkable number. In the text it is repeated in so many forms that it forces itself upon our attention.
I. HEBDOMADS ARE CONSPICUOUS IN THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE LAW.
1. They appear in the week of days.
(1) The foundation of this is the Creation week. The patriarchal sabbath became incorporated into the Mosaic Law. There were other weeks of days and sabbaths. In the text there are three of these, with a sabbath on the first and another on the eighth day.
(2) Could there be in these an anticipation of the change of the sabbath from the seventh day to the first or eighth under the Christian dispensation? The sabbaths of the seventh and eighth days may point to the rest of the millennium in the first instance, and to that of the new heavens and earth in the second. In observing the Lord's day, it would be highly edifying to have these anticipations in mind.
2. They appear again in the week of months.
(1) The entire cycle of the feasts of the Lord was comprised in such a week. It commenced on the 14th day of Abib, with the Passover, instituted in commemoration of the Exodus. Then followed, in their appointed seasons, the Feast of Unleavened Bread; that of the Firstfruits; the Feast of Harvest, which is also called the Feast of Weeks (Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10, 16; 2 Chronicles 8:13). The series ended with the festivals of the seventh month.
(2) During the five months remaining there was no annual feast. The daily sacrifices and those of the sabbaths and moons were of course continued.
(3) The moon was a symbol of the Church, and its changes represented the mutations through which it passes in this world, but when it has fulfilled its great week of changes it wilt be perfected for ever in heaven.
3. They appear again in the week of years.
(1) The Law bad its septenary division of years, with a continually repeated seventh year of rest for the land (Leviticus 25:3-7; Leviticus 26:34, 35; 2 Chronicles 36:21).
(2) Founded upon this also was a greater period of a week of weeks of years, with its year of jubilee (Leviticus 25:8-17). The lessons of the sabbatic and jubilee years will conic under consideration in their proper places.
II. HEBDOMADS ARE CONSPICUOUS IN THE CHRONOLOGY OF PROPHECY.
1. The days of the week are taken as prophetic.
(1) David, and. Peter from him, notes that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8). Paul also mentions the sabbath-keeping of the future "which remaineth to the people of God" (Hebrews 4:9). And John describes that rest as extending over a thousand years (Revelation 20:4).
(2) To this agrees the tradition in the house of Elias, a teacher who lived about two hundred years before our Lord, and which is thought to have been derived from Elijah the Tishbite. It purports that this world is to endure in its imperfect state six thousand years: two thousand before the Law; two thousand under the Law; two thousand under Messiah; and then a thousand years in a state of renovation (see Mede, 536, 776, 894; also Bishop Newton's 'Disser.,' volume 3:335).
(3) The same view is no less definitely put forth by Barnabas. He makes each day of the Creation week represent a thousand years of the subsequent history of the world, and the sabbath he makes to stand for the reign of peace, or millennium of John.
2. Dispensations are measured by weeks of times.
(1) The "times of the Gentiles" are accepted to be the same as the "seven times," during which Israel was destined to be trodden down of them. Upon the year-day principle these are the double of the "time, time, and dividing of a time" of Daniel and John, during which the little horn was to wear out the saints, and represent 2520 years. The larger period commences with the literal Babylon, and the smaller with the mystical.
(2) But how can the Patriarchal, Levitical, and Christian dispensations be limited to six thousand years, if each is to extend over 2520? They do so by overlapping each other. Thus the patriarchal extends "from Adam to Moses" (Romans 5:13, 14), which space comprises "seven times." The Jewish then reckons from Shem the patriarch, selected as the depositary of the covenant, to Jesus. The interval from Shem to Jesus measures "seven times." The dispensation of the Gentiles, already described as the "times of the Gentiles," forms the third. It began with the rise of the ancient Babylonish power, and will end with the overthrow of the mystical Babylon.
III. HEBDOMADS ARE NOT WITHOUT FOUNDATION IN NATURE.
1. They are not very obviously marked in the heavens.
(1) The day is measured by the revolution of the earth upon its axis. The month is measured by the revolution of the moon in her orbit. The year is determined by the revolution of the earth about the sun.
(2) But where are we to find the measure of the week? The quarters of the moon do not measure it, for the month is more than four times seven days.
2. Yet they have a foundation in nature.
(1) It is now well known that changes in animals are regulated by weeks. Dr. Laycock, summing up what he had advanced on this subject in a series of remarkable papers, says, "The facts I have briefly glanced at are general facts, and cannot happen day after day in so many millions of animals of every kind from larva or ovum of a minute insect up to man at definite periods, from a mere chance or coincidence; and although temperature, food, domestication, and other modifying circumstances may and do interrupt the regularity with which the various processes I have alluded to are conducted, yet upon the whole it is, I think, impossible to come to any less general conclusion than this. That in animals changes occur every three and a half, seven, fourteen, twenty-one, or twenty-eight days, or at some definite number of weeks" (see Lancet, 1842-43).
(2) The words recorded by Moses (Genesis 1:14) guide us to the consideration of the revolution of the epacts, or differences in solar and lunar measures of time. And it is most admirable that the epacts of the times of prophetic chronology as measured by true solar and lunar years come out in weeks (see Guinness's 'Approaching End of the Age'). From this interesting subject we learn:
1. That prophecy is from God.
2. That the God of nature is the God of providence.
3. That religion should be interwoven with secular concerns. - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,