But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
Our Passover Lamb
The Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) can teach us some important lessons about God's Deliverance. Christianity got its meaning from this Feast. The Last Supper was, in fact, the Lord celebrating the Passover with his disciples.
BACKGROUND OF THE PASSOVER
The ancient Hebrews were in slavery in Egypt. God told Moses to tell Pharaoh to let my people go. But mighty Pharaoh, leader of the most important commercial and military power of that time, refused to obey the Word of God.
God brought ten (10) plagues on Egypt. The tenth plague was the slaying of all the firstborn of Egypt. To protect the Hebrews from this plague, God told Moses what Israel must do. We find these instructions in Exodus (Shemot in Hebrew).
And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying... Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a LAMB, according to the house of their fathers, a LAMB for an house....
Your LAMB shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
And they shall take of the BLOOD, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, ROAST with FIRE, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it....
For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
And the BLOOD shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the BLOOD, I will PASSOVER you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12) (Emphasis mine)
LESSONS FROM THE PASSOVER
One lesson we can learn from the Passover is that God will judge the wicked. He slew all the firstborn of Egypt, including the firstborn of Pharaoh. God is on the side of Israel, not Egypt. God FOUGHT FOR Israel and AGAINST Egypt.
REDEMPTION for the people of God means DESTRUCTION for the enemies of God. LIFE for Israel means DEATH for Egypt. You CAN'T have one without the other.
We see this over and over again, in Psalm 136, as the Psalmist recounts the mercy of the LORD. There can be peace IN heaven, but there can be no peace BETWEEN heaven and hell.
A second lesson is that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Even the chosen people of God were sinners (we see more of this in their wilderness wanderings, in Sinai, after leaving Egypt). How do we know they were sinners?
God demanded the blood of an innocent lamb, as a substitute for their blood -- so that He would not slay them, when He slew the Egyptians. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. This is a central theme of the Holy Scriptures.
A third lesson is that the lamb had to be a male lamb of the first year, without blemish. God would not accept a blemished sacrifice, as we later learn in the third book of Moses (Leviticus). The male lamb must be innocent -- without blemish.
A fourth lesson is that the blood of the lamb must be placed on the two side posts and the upper doorpost. Then, the Hebrews must get inside the house, behind the blood on the doorposts. Here we see faith in action.
It did not matter whether the Hebrew was a good or bad person. It did not matter whether the Hebrew was young or old, male or female, fair-skinned or dark, clever or dull, big or small, popular or unpopular, leader or follower.
All that mattered was that the Hebrew believed the Word of God. If he did, he applied the blood of the Passover Lamb by faith, and got inside, behind the blood. There he was safe from the Destroyer. There he was safe from the wrath of God.
Why? Payment had been made for his sins. The blood of an innocent substitute had been shed for him. God's justice had been satisfied. The Passover Lamb had borne the wrath of God. The people of God (Israel) could now go free.
The TANACH (Jewish Bible) tells us that the Messiah would be as a LAMB led to the slaughter. It also tells us that by his shed blood (his stripes) we, who believe, are healed. We read this in the Book of Isaiah the Prophet.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a LAMB to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:3-7) (Emphasis mine)
It is no wonder then, that more than one ancient Rabbi believed that there would be two (2) Messiahs -- a Suffering Messiah and a Kingly Messiah. They knew that David's greater Son would deliver Israel from all her enemies.
But they couldn't reconcile this with the picture of a Suffering Messiah, painted in Isaiah 53. Yet as sinners, Israel needed more than just political and military deliverance. They needed deliverance from the wrath of God, due to their sins.
This need for deliverance from the wrath of God, due to our sins, is also the need of every Gentile. The Passover Lamb points directly to the Messiah in Isaiah 53.
JEREMIAH FORETELLS A NEW COVENANT
The Prophet Jeremiah wrote that God promised to make a New Covenant with the house of Israel (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Several hundred years later, John the Baptist, a direct descendant of Aaron, the High Priest, said of Jesus: Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
Three and a half years later, while celebrating the Jewish Feast of Passover with his disciples, Jesus instituted this New Covenant. We read:
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my BLOOD of the NEW TESTAMENT, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:26-28) (Emphasis mine)
The next day, he fulfilled these words, as he willingly laid down his life, for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He is the Passover Lamb, roast in the fire of God's wrath against their sins. He also died for those Gentiles who would believe in Him.
The ancient Hebrews ate the roasted lamb, whose shed blood had saved them. We need to feed our minds and hearts spiritually, with the sacrifice of the spotless Lamb of God, Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah).
A member of the tribe of Benjamin wrote, Purge 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: Therefore 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)
RESURRECTION FORETOLD IN THE JEWISH BIBLE
The Hebrew Prophets also foretold Messiah's Resurrection (rising from the dead). The One, who was to die, would also live again. We read in the TANACH (Jewish Bible):
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:10-12)
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (Psalm 16:10)
A LAMB, THE LAMB, YOUR LAMB
In reviewing Exodus 12, we notice that LAMB is always in the singular. Each house in Israel was to take a lamb. Yet in God's mind, there was only one LAMB of God, who takes away the sin of the world. We also see a divine progression when God speaks of the LAMB.
Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats (Exodus 12:3-5)
Is Jesus the Messiah just a lamb (an innocent man, crucified) in your mind? If so, He needs to become the LAMB in your mind and heart (the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world). Only then, by the grace of God, can He become your LAMB (your personal Lord and Saviour).
Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. (Psalm 80:3)
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)