Scripture Imagery: 92. The Feast and Holy Convocations

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 12
The experiences of a Drop of Water are not, one would think, very exciting; yet I remember being much interested in reading Grube's Geschichte eines Wassertropfen, and afterward being deeply impressed with Paul's question, “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” Why indeed! for it is a thing of just the same nature, only a degree less wonderful, and entirely as impossible for us to comprehend, that God can transform and etherialize a drop of water, lift it up in its new invisible form in the air, and carry it flying through the heavens. The learned Professor will not believe that God can raise the dead because he cannot understand how it can be done; but can he understand how the other transformation is done? He says it is the heat that expands and turns the water into vapor, he., &c. But can he tell you how the heat does it, or why, or what heat is, or anything beyond one or two mere outward facts. Ah, when we get to the original causes, the “how” and “why,” the professor finds there is a point beyond which if one seek to go, he finds that he is “like a man trying to lift himself by his own waistband.” (This was the expression that the professor's able colleague himself used in his famous infidel address to the British Association some years ago).
Grube's drop of water lay long troubled in the restless, melancholy sea until one day a ray came down from the sun bringing it a message to come up hither to the Lord of Life and Glory. As the sunbeam kissed it, the drop of water (together with many of his neighboring drops, says Grube) felt a strange lightness and emotion—a strong sehnsucht—seize them. They disappeared from mortal sight, became changed into a spiritual and ethereal nature and rose into the sky, bathing in the sun's light and warmth. But its life was only now beginning: the Sun and the Wind sent it hither and thither on its delightful and beneficial course,—now flying in the cloud, now lashing in the hail, now plashing in the rain, now flashing in the snow, roaring in the cataract, glistening in the dew, moistening the fevered lip, or gleaming in the rainbow, eventually finding repose again in the vast and peaceful sea—not the same sea, though,—whence it originated.
It is the same God, working according to the same great principles, whether in the physical or spiritual realms, Whose light and warmth shining from the face of Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness regnant in the celestial sphere, rest upon the sea of human strife and transform myriads of the drops that compose that sea into an invisible spiritual life, drawing them upwards into His own presence and favor. The natural and normal effect of the rays coming from the Sun of Righteousness upon the human Wassertropfen is to draw him upwards by the mysterious power of Warmth and Light.
In being changed the Wassertropfen leaves all its bitterness, its acids and its alkalies behind, becoming purified by the sun's chaste and genial beams, and being drawn upwards to survey the broad earth from above, and to see its wide panorama sweeping forth underneath. This is always the first thing that happens. Christ gathers His disciples round Him and shows them the course of the world's past, present, future, when sending them forth on their various missions. And the principle is the same here in Leviticus. So soon as the work of redemption is finally settled, we are lifted up and taken in a rapid flight over the whole dispensations of human history, which pass under us (in the twenty-third chapter) like the islands and Continents of the revolving globe.
This is done by means of the divine appointment of the Seven Feasts (or Festivals)—they were by no means all of a joyful character—though some of them were so. These were solemn convocations at certain periods of the year: Holy-days, Feiertage. Unfortunately “holiday” expresses to us now only the ideas of indolence, pleasure, perhaps even debauchery (which fact gives us an instance of apostasy in words such as Dean Trench writes of). These Festivals do not commemorate but anticipate; for as the thoughtful S. T. Coleridge said, the Hebrew institutions differed from all others in this, that whereas other nations commemorated the past, with the Hebrews everything was prospective and preparatory, “nothing is done for itself alone, but all is typical of something yet to come;” and elsewhere, “Sublimity is Hebrew (not classical, Greek or Latin) by birth.”
I ask the reader to ponder those words of Cole-ridge's: his wide and deep knowledge of the classics and his heterodoxy in some things make his testimony the more remarkable. The heathens compose their calendars to commemorate a past mythology (composed of nursery tales smeared with the slime of Tophet). The Christians, disobeying the apostle, who discountenances their observance of such things, fill their calendar with days in memorial of St. This or St. That, or of a gunpowder plot or a “martyred” king. But the Hebrews, contrary to all the world, have feasts appointed which (so far as we can judge) anticipate and reflect the whole future history of the world. Thus tended also all their ritual, religion and public policy. What an overwhelming proof of the finger of God there is in this fact alone!
With the Jews, then, the calendar is a small chart, annually renewed, of future history. The first great event is the solemnization of the Passover which is expressly stated in 1 Cor. 5:7, 87Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7‑8) to be typical of the atonement of Christ, and immediately connected with it is the Feast of Unleavened Bread which in the same verse is shown to be typical of a course of life devoid of evil. The apostle says, “Christ our passover has been [lit.] slain for us; therefore let us keep the Feast [or holy-day,—he means, of course, the Feast of Unleavened bread which began at the Passover] not with the old leaven, [i.e., in this connection, the horrible profligacy that characterized the Corinthians' heathen worship] neither with the leaven of
malice and wickedness [elsewhere we read of the leaven of Herodians—political religiousness; the leaven of the Pharisees which was hypocrisy, &c.] but [keep the feast] with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” The Feast of unleavened bread must not be divorced from the Passover, nor must the acceptance of the atonement of the true Paschal Lamb be separated from a pure and upright course of life.