Easter 2010: Part I – The First Passover and Passover Today
by Shawn Brasseaux
[28 March 2010]
What is the origin of Passover? Why do Jews observe it? Let us turn to the Bible for the answer.
THE FIRST PASSOVER
In Exodus chapter 12, circa 3500 years ago, we find Israel just moments before her deliverance from Egyptian bondage. As you know, Pharaoh refuses to let Israel go, despite the nine plagues the LORD God has already brought on Egypt. Now, using the tenth and final plague, God will force Pharaoh to let Israel go.
We read in Exodus 12:1-6 of the LORD giving Israel instructions as to how to observe the Passover feast. God tells Moses and Aaron that Abib/Nisan (our April) will be the first year on Israel’s religious calendar. On the tenth day of Abib, each household has to select a male lamb or kid (goat) of the first year. It has to be without blemish; that is, not crippled or sick—it must be perfect. They must keep it penned up until the fourteenth day to monitor its health, and then kill it in the evening.
In verses 7-11, God tells them to take a hyssop weed, dip it in the blood, and apply the blood to the lintel (top of the doorway) and on the side posts (two sides of the doorway) of their house. Little did these Jews know they were actually placing that blood in the shape of a cross! After putting the blood on the doorway, they are to go inside, and eat the roasted lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They are instructed to eat quickly, wearing their shoes, their garments, and holding the staff.
Exodus 12:12 says that while the Jews are eating the Passover lamb on Abib 14th, God is going to PASS OVER the land of Egypt, killing all the firstborn of the Egyptians and the firstborn of their livestock. But, jumping up to verse 23, we see that God promises not to harm any of the Jews because the blood of the Passover lamb has been applied to their account.
On the night of the Passover, the beginning of Abib 14th, the Jews follow God’s instructions and apply the blood of the lamb. While they are eating the lamb, suddenly, the LORD comes in great power, proving to Egypt that He alone is God, superior to their pagan idols. All the firstborn of Egypt’s cattle died, the firstborn of Pharaoh died, every Egyptian firstborn died, and even the firstborn of every prisoner died. The Bible says that every Egyptian household had at least one dead person (Exodus 12:30). Now, Pharaoh was all too eager to get Israel out of Egypt, and he speedily granted the Jews permission to leave. Thus begins the exodus, and the 40-year journey to the Promised Land, the land of Canaan.
You can also look at Deuteronomy 16:1,2, but Exodus 12:14 says that from that time onward, even up through Christ’s earthly ministry, the Jews kept that feast every Nisan (April) 14th. After all, it was to commemorate their exodus from the Egyptian bondage! (The Jews today call Passover “the festival of their freedom.”) God hid it from Israel, but that Passover observance was a shadow of something to come. It was a type (preview) of the Lord Jesus Christ who was without blemish or spot, coming one day to shed His own blood not only for Israel, but for all the world. (We will talk more about that in part II.)
We have all heard of the “Last Supper,” the last meal Christ has with His disciples before He is betrayed and crucified. The Lord tells His disciples to go prepare a room for them to eat the Passover (Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-13). Do you ever wonder what that room and that feast looked like with Christ there? Look at modern-day Passover observance in Israel, and you get a pretty good idea.
According to Annie Thrasher, director of the Bible Times Learning Center in Ein Kerem, Jerusalem, the Jews would have someone sit out on a high point in the land that evening (the end of Nisan 13, the beginning of Nisan 14), and as soon as the three stars were seen in the sky, it would be announced, and Passover would begin.
Okay, so Jesus Christ is hosting the meal at that reserved room, and it was the host’s job to tell the story of the exodus to those at the table. There would be singing hymns and psalms (especially Psalms 113-118), respectable dancing and praise to God. The host would teach the youngest, who would be sitting next to him, ensuring that the story would be passed on to future generations: in this case, the Apostle John is the youngest, so he is reclining in front of the Lord at the table.
All facing in the same direction, lying on their left sides, John would be leaning into Jesus, and Jesus leaning into Judas. Peter was reclining on the other side of the triclinium (a U-shaped table), in the servant’s spot, actually! Note that there was no sitting; they were lying on their left side, resting on the left arm, and eating with their right hand. Interestingly, the host had his most trusted friend reclining behind him, guarding his back. In the case of Christ as host, Judas was in the spot behind Christ—Judas, Christ’s enemy, was reclined in the spot at the table where the most trusted friend was to sit!
Today, the religious Jews who practice Passover eat lamb stew. As before in the Old Testament, they still never break the bones of the Passover lamb, just as Christ’s bones were never broken (Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; John 19:33, 36). They eat unleavened bread and drink wine. Although these Jews are religious, they are not necessarily saved. Remember, as the Apostle Paul wrote, most of Israel is spiritually blinded today in the Dispensation of Grace (Romans 11:11-12, 25). Most Jews today refuse to believe that their Messiah (the Lord Jesus Christ) already came, nearly 2000 years ago.
By the way, contrary to religious tradition, Jesus Christ was not crucified on Friday. According to Jonah 1:17 and Matthew 12:39,40, Jesus was in the heart of the three days and three nights. According to Luke 24:21, Sunday (the resurrection day) was the “third day” since Christ died. If we back up three days from Sunday, the crucifixion was Thursday (Friday was the first day, Saturday was the second day, and Sunday was the third day).
In part II next week, we are going to discuss the plan of salvation, and look at correlation between the Passover feast and the cross of Calvary.
Easter 2010: Part II – Christ Our Passover
by Shawn Brasseaux
[3 April 2010]
Last week, in part I of our Easter 2010 message, we saw from the Bible how and why the first Passover observance originated. Israel was in Egyptian bondage, and because Pharaoh refused to let the Jews leave, God harshly judged Egypt. As the LORD passed over the land, He smote the firstborn of the Egyptians and their livestock. But, if you recall, God spared the Jews from that death because they had the Passover lamb’s blood applied to their doorposts and lintel. Now, in part II, we make the connection with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Before Israel applied the blood to the doorway, God warned them of the impending danger. Israel needed to know that God was going to righteously judge Egypt, and if Israel wanted to survive, they had to follow God’s instructions. We can bring that right up to the present day. The Word of God has already warned sinful mankind of the impending doom that lies in eternity, but He has also given us information that has the potential to rescue us from that well-deserved punishment!
From the moment of conception, we are sinners—yes, even as a small speck in our mother’s womb, before we committed that first sin, we were already sinners in God’s eyes! People need to realize that it is not what we do that makes us sinners; it is whom we are that makes us sinners. We have inherited from Adam a sin nature; the Bible calls it the “body of sin” and the “old man” (Romans 6:6 KJV). We are made in “the image and likeness of Adam” (Genesis 5:3 KJV), and it is this identity in Adam that gets us into trouble with the Lord (Romans 5:12 KJV).
This Adamic nature causes us to sin and it has broken our fellowship with God. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 KJV). The natural (lost, unsaved) person cannot relate to the things of God, because he is spiritually dead. He has no fellowship with God, and God is not in his thinking; he is an enemy of God who wants nothing to do with God and he has no intention of listening to anything God has to say. (If you are a believer in Christ today, this was you prior to salvation, believe it or not!)
Now the Bible is quite clear as to the ultimate end of sinners: “for the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a KJV). That is not just physical death, but spiritual death, eternal separation from God forever (the “second death” of Revelation 20:14 and Revelation 21:8). Remember that death in the Bible is “separation.” Mankind has already worked, not for salvation, but for damnation. We have worked in the flesh, and we have rightfully earned death. You cannot do anything to change who you already are in Adam, and you cannot rescue yourself. It seems very hopeless indeed, but the message of grace is a beacon of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, salvation… and of course, grace!
Look at what Hebrews 9:26 KJV says: “[Jesus Christ] appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” This is what 1 Timothy 2:6 KJV says: “[Jesus Christ] gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Hebrews 2:9 KJV reads: “that he [Jesus Christ] by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
We are all sinners, but the Bible says that Jesus Christ gave all that He had to reconcile us to Himself. God left the glory of heaven to become a man and endure such despicable treatment and shame, just because He wanted to save us! We did not deserve it. A late brother in the Lord once expressed it like this: “God the Father wanted to give us eternal life, God the Son wanted to give up His life for us, and God the Holy Spirit wanted to seal us forever.” Right he is!
Colossians 1:14 KJV tells us that the blood of Christ redeems us and cleanses us from all sin. Now, remember the Passover lamb back in Exodus chapter 12? It had to be without spot or blemish—it could not be defiled by sickness or disability (Exodus 12:5). Likewise, the Lord Jesus Christ had to be perfect: He could not be tainted by sin at all. The Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:19 that Jesus Christ was the lamb “without blemish and without spot!” Christ was separate from sinners because He was God in the flesh; this made Him the perfect sacrificial lamb, literally!!
The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 5:7 KJV that “…Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” We learn that the Passover lamb of Exodus chapter 12 was a preview (a “type”) of the Lord Jesus Christ! God the Son became that sacrifice you and I needed in order for us to be reconciled to God. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV). When we were on our merry way to Hell, God already accomplished everything that needed to be done to RESCUE us from Hell.
Look at Romans 4:7,8 KJV:
“7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”
The word “impute” means “to apply or appropriate to one’s account.” In other words, the Bible says that God will not apply sin to those who are forgiven. Here is one of my most favorite Bible passages (2 Corinthians 5:18-21 KJV):
“18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
God is giving every person in the world a chance to be saved. Their sins have already been dealt with—past, present, and future—at Calvary. The message of grace is that God is not imputing (applying) the sins of the world to their account today. All sins, of all people, for all time were laid on the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was so disfigured on Calvary’s cross, not only from all the physical abuse, but also from the wrath of God bearing down on Him. The perfect Lamb of God because “sin for us.” He was “made a curse for us,” the Bible says in Galatians 3:13. It was for this reason, the Bible tells us, that God the Father forsook His Son (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).
Notice what 2 Corinthians 5:21 says. Although we are sinners, hell-bound from conception, we can have God’s righteousness in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have to be “in Christ” to have the righteousness of God imputed to us, thereby making us fit for heaven. Our “righteousness” is nothing compared to the righteousness God demands. How do we get “in Christ?” Believe the Gospel of Grace, trust in Christ Jesus, and His finished work at Calvary as sufficient payment for your sins. No strings attached—it really is that simple!
Just as the Jews in Goshen were covered by the blood of the lamb and insulated from the righteous judgment of God, so must the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ be imputed to our account to keep us from the judgment of God (the Tribulation and the everlasting lake of fire). If you want Christ’s atoning blood to be imputed to your account, you must take God at His Word and believe the Gospel of Grace. Either your sins will be dealt with at the Lord’s cross, or you will pay for your sins for all eternity in torments.
Read this selection from Romans 5:9,10 KJV:
“9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Romans 6:23b says, “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Do you have eternal life as a present possession? Are your sins forgiven today? Would you like to know how to be saved and go to heaven? The Bible says that God is offering you a chance to receive His forgiveness, so what will you do with it? You can either do like most people and disregard (ignore) God’s Word, or you can take it by faith that Jesus Christ died for your sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day for your justification!!!! This is Paul’s Gospel of Grace, the only way to heaven, as found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Contact me and I would be happy to answer any questions your may have.
Well, that is the Gospel of Grace. Plain and simple. The rest is up to you….