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Christ the Pass Over lamb
of November 1996
Next up-date: 1 December 1996 (God willing).
What is meant when it is written,
"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you 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.
In connection with these words the apostle Paul also wrote, "But every man in his own order, Christ the firstfruits...." 1 Corinthians 15:23. In these two references in the letter he is referring to some ceremonies in the law of Moses which he says prefigured the death and resurrection of Jesus, and he was pointing the people of Corinth to their real meaning. In Leviticus 23:4-44 there is set out in graphic detail seven special times called "holy convocations" or ceremonial "sabbaths", two of which he was detailing. This law of Moses should be seen as a simplified model of the redemption (not salvation) begun by Jesus at His first advent and completed after the earth shall be delivered in the "lake of fire". Revelation 20:14.
The original "pass over" experience had been in Egypt the night the Israelites left their captivity and commenced their journey to the promised land. That night the Israelites were "passed over" at midnight while the Egyptian first born died, and the next morning they left the land of their captivity. See Exodus 12. The blood of the lamb was smeared on the lintel and doorposts of their houses making the sign of the cross and effectively protecting them. Verses 7, 13 and 23.
Thus the 14th day of the 1st month was a working day on which the passover lamb was killed and eaten. Nowhere in the ceremonial law is this "type" or "shadow" openly connected with Jesus, but when John the Baptist spoke of Him, he called Him "the LAMB of God which takes away the sins of the world" showing that he also saw the application. John 1:29. Jesus fulfilled the first part of the ceremony when He died on the cross of Friday afternoon. Before He went through this experience He explained some of this to His disciples. "He said to them, with desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will not any more eat of it until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And He took the cup and gave thanks, and said, Take this and divide it among yourselves. For I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come". Luke 22:15-18. In this manner, He changed the passover ceremony into what is known today as the Lord's supper, or Holy Communion. Paul, in his letter also mentioned this. He wrote, "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do show the Lord's death till He come". 1 Corinthians 11:26. One extreme of the passover is His death, and the other is His second coming. Therefore it spans and is fulfilled during the whole of the gospel dispensation, a period of about 2,000 years so far.
The next statement in Leviticus 23 speaks of a seven-day period called "The feast of unleavened bread", the first day of which was a "holy convocation" or ceremonial rest day, as was also the last day. Verses 6-8. The first was observed on the 15th day of the month and it did not matter which day of the week this happened to be for these ceremonial days were set by date in the same manner as Christmas day. It was for this reason that Jesus "rested" in the grave until Sunday morning, the day of the resurrection. This resurrection day was of course, the 16th day of the month, and it is mentioned in verses 9-14. On that day the priest in charge of the ceremony would gather the first sheaf of barley (the firstfruits for the new year's harvest, the 1st month being in the spring) and take it before the Lord and "wave it" as a type of Jesus being alive on that day. Thus the pattern of the crucifixion was set in the days of Moses. Jesus was to die on the 14th, rest on the 15th, and be working again on the 16th. That particular year these days happened to be Friday, Saturday and Sunday. See Mark 15:42-47 and 16:1-2. The second "holy convocation" fell on the last day of the feast, the 21st day of the month. Leviticus 23:8. Thus Jesus fulfilled these ceremonies to the very hour and day of the month.
The ceremonial days of the year.
.....14th...15th...16th................ 21st ....................3rd month............................1st .....10th...........15th......................22nd
Passover..Feast of Unleavened Bread.............Feast of Weeks....Day of trumpets..Day of Atonement.......Feast of Booths
The crucifixion & resurrection ..................Descent of the Spirit............Trumpets..Atonement..............Tabernacles
In like manner to the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread spans the period of the gospel dispensation, from the first coming to the sounding of the 7th trumpet. So also does the Feast of Weeks, or outpouring of the Holy Spirit. All three are still available for Christians today in a spiritual sense. 1 Corinthians 5:8.
The first feast of the year is called "the feast of unleavened bread" for two reasons.
First, because the Israelites left Egypt without being able to raise the bread with the customary yeast or leaven, and therefore they ate unleavened or flat bread for that week while being harassed by the Egyptian army.
Second, because as our query states, it was a picture of the state of the people. Not just those in Egypt in Moses' time, but of all those who have not joined God's travelers. We are full of the "leaven" of malice and wickedness while in Egypt (the world) and need a cleansing period to change that. So those who want to be "unleavened" or free from error must "purge out therefore, the old leaven". Jesus gave us the clue when He said, "How is it that you do not understand that I spoke it not to you concerning bread, that you should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of [earthly] bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees". Matthew 16:11-12. With "sincerity and truth" we can find the way of righteousness.
Leaven, or yeast, works secretly and is a fit emblem of hypocrisy and deceit. Small at first, but eventually filling the whole loaf, or life! On that first occasion the children of Israel were to abstain from leavened bread that their minds might be impressed with the fact that God requires truth and sincerity in His worship. John 4:23. But, as Paul has pointed out to the people of Corinth, this experience was not to happen only once. It began again with the crucifixion, and has continued though the centuries to the present day. The passover Lamb has been available for us to eat, the firstfruits have been seen by many over the years, and the unleavened bread has been freely offered. See John 6:35. Jesus told us we may know of the doctrine if we really want to, for no honest and sincere person can ever stay long in error. He said, "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself". John.7.17.
Feast, of Unleavened Bread:
This earthly rite has a meaning for Christianity today. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8.
It signifies the time of sorting out doctrines which is just after the believer's entrance into the kingdom. Matthew 16:11-12.
Its beginning was illuminated for us by Jesus at His crucifixion on Saturday the restday. It should be studied in connection with the other feasts of the year. Leviticus 23:1--->