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He was then sent into the wilderness, far away from the habitations of men, and set free. This was called the Scape-goat, or the sent-away goat. So must sin be expelled from the heart.
RELIGIOUS FESTIVALS. All Israelites were commanded to appear three times in the year before the Lord. This was at the three great annual festivals, or seasons of public worship, namely, the Passover, Pentecost, and the feast of Tabernacles.
Besides these established feasts, congregations assembled for public worship every Sabbath, at every new moon, and at the beginning of every year. The latter was called the feast of Trumpets.
This included the feast of Unleavened Bread, and was kept on the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the first month of the
year. It commemorated the deliverance of the Israelites when the first-born of Egypt were slain, and was a type of the sacrifice of Christ, “our passover.”
This festival was observed as long as the Jews continued to be a nation, and is still kept up by those who in their dispersion cling to the Mosaic laws.
The first month of the religious year, by which the Jews regulated their feasts, was called Nisan, or Abib. It began with the time of their departure from Egypt.
The first month of the civil year was Tisri. By this they reckoned the reigns of their kings, and all historical and ordinary events.
PENTECOST. This was observed fifty days after the Passover. It was identical with some other festivals, namely, feast of Weeks, feast of Wheatharvest, and feast of First-fruits.
FEAST OF TABERNACLES.
On what day was the feast of Tabernacles kept? How long did it continue ?
At this time the people went out of their houses, and dwelt for seven days in booths made of the boughs of trees; this was a memorial of the booths, or temporary habitations in which they dwelt during their wanderings in the wilderness.
After the Israelites had settled abodes in the land of Canaan, these booths were sometimes erected on the fiat roofs of their houses.
GREAT DAY OF ATONEMENT. This was on the tenth day of the month Tisri. This was the first month of the civil year, and the seventh month of the festival year. The feast of Trumpets, the great day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles, were all in the same month, on the first, the tenth, and the fifteenth days.
No part of the Jewish ceremonies more clearly represented the great doctrines of the gospel, than the services on the day of Atonement. It was kept as a solemn fast. The people assembled to confess their sins, and to seek pardon and deliverance through a sacrificial atonement; the scape-goat was sent away into the wilderness; a sin-offering was sacrificed, and the high-priest entering the Holy of Holies, sprinkled the blood upon the Mercyseat.
In these rites are shadowed forth faith, repentance, remission of sin through the shedding of blood, and access to God with entrance to heaven through a mediator and intercessor. HEB. 9:11, 12.
THE SABBATICAL YEAR. “Six years thou shalt sow thy field.” in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land." Lev. 25 :3, 4.
In regard to the sabbatical year, four points are to be noted :
1. Agriculture was intermitted, and the ground left without cultivation.
2. By the miraculous intervention of Jehovah, the harvest of the sixth year in the series produced a sufficient supply for three years.
3. All Hebrews held in bondage were to be released in the sabbatical year, unless it was their choice to remain in servitude.
4. All debts which one Israelite owed to another were cancelled.
YEAR OF JUBILEE.
This was held after every series of seven sabbatical years. Most probably it occurred on the forty-ninth year, or the last sabbatical year of the series.
" In the year of Jubilee, ye shall return every man unto his possession.”
“The land shall not be sold for ever."
When the Israelites should enter Canaan, and divide it among their tribes and households, this was to be the law of property. The division must be made by lot, and once made, no inheritance could be sold or alienated for a longer term than to the next year of Jubilee.