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The Rituals of the Passover

Query for the Month

of

February 2016

Next up-date: March 1st 2016 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

 

This article is available as a PDF file here.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!
 

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light through Darkness" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read! 

In the meantime, try this site.   

 

Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.

In this reply the old-fashioned words of the KJV have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding.  Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.  All the ideas expressed in this article, right or wrong, are my own.   


 

The query:

Why do we not talk more about the rituals of the Passover lamb and its blood, for Christ is our Passover lamb?  1 Corinthians 5:7. 

 

My response:

Many of us seem to have become stuck on the false teaching that the daily burnt offering lamb had something to do with teaching of cleansing from sin and have relegated the Passover ritual into the background.  So let’s spend some time here now sorting out the truth.

Paul wrote:

    1 Corinthians 5:6-8:

Your glorying is not good.  Know you not that a little leaven [yeast] leavens the whole lump [of flour]?  Purge out [remove] therefore the old leaven [from your mind], that you may be a new lump, as you are [now] unleavened [in your heart] for even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the Feast, not with old [physical] leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  

Let’s look at the original Passover ritual and try to see why Paul says that it was a picture of Christ on the cross, because nowhere else in the Bible does it say that!  And what does he mean that we should keep the feast? As we think about doing that we should read ALL the words that God uses to describe the original ritual, so this will be a long answer.

Exodus 12:

1 And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,

2 This month shall be to you the beginning of months [the new year]: it shall be the first month of the year to you. [Our Mar/Apr – springtime to them.] 

3 Speak you to all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them [select] every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house: 4 and if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next to his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. [In men’s eyes, so that there will not be any waste – in God’s eyes so that there will be enough for everyone.]

5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: you shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 6 and you 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 [after 3pm, during the last quarter of the sun’s apparent traverse of the sky].

The first thing that should come to our notice is that this ceremony took place in the houses of the Israelites – not in the sanctuary (it had not yet been built), and that there was a lot of sharing going on.  It was the first of all the ceremonials and yet was never supposed to occur in the sanctuary!  This was because it is a picture of being turned into a Christian – it teaches us how we become born-again and capable of coming to the sanctuary which could be a dangerous place to a sinner without protection.  And that the rebirth experience does NOT require attendance at any particular location, but it does require a certain sequence of events. 

The Passover lamb was a male animal (as opposed to the sin offering which was a female for the commoner) and could be either from the sheep or the goats.  No confession of sin was made over it, nor were any other of the normal rituals - not even the presence of a priest was required. (It was only later taken over by the religious leaders and made into a sanctuary experience as well.)

Yet the ceremony was so important that it began the religious new year and it was to be synchronised so that all the people partook of it at the same time. 

In other words, it was available to all Israel without restriction.  The timing was directly governed by the moon (not the sun), for the offering was selected at any time on the 10th day of the 1st month, but not eaten till the 14th, the night of the full moon. To a people without clocks, that was a good way. 

    Genesis 1:14. 

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years”. 

Of course, in the reality of conversion there is neither a set length of time nor a set place required for it to occur, but when we apply this ritual to the sacrifice of the Son of God, we can see that those who want to partake of His grace must have time to learn of it and to choose to join Him.

This thought was picked up later by one of the prophets. “Come, and let us return to the LORD [in repentance and desire]: for He has torn [convicted us], and He will heal us; He has smitten, and He will bind us up.  After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. Then shall we know [increase in knowledge], if we follow on to know the LORD.  His going forth is prepared as the morning [steadily and silently]; and He shall come to us as the rain, as the latter and former rain to the earth [through the outpourings of the Holy Spirit]”.  Hosea 6:1-3.

Although the Passover text says the 10th -14th, the experience takes three periods of time literally, and is reminiscent of the three days of Christ’s sacrifice.  

We need to LEARN about the death, THINK about it, and then ACT upon it.

Sometime in the late afternoon of the 13th day of the 1st month the lamb was killed and the cooking begun, so that the meal could be eaten after the sun had set at the beginning of the 14th day.  It was the serving of the food that was the main symbol, not the death, but while the preparation was going on the blood was used in a specific way.

    Exodus 12:

7 And they shall take of the blood [in a basin], and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses [making the sign of a cross], wherein they shall eat it [or the entrance to the tent if they were travelling].         8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and [with] unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs [simple vegetables] they shall eat it.

9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water [boiled], but roast with fire [to illustrate this was not a normal death]; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof [all that belongs to it].  

10 And you shall let nothing [edible] of it remain until the morning; and that [flesh] which remains of it until the morning [if that did happen] you shall burn with fire [it was not to be eaten a second time!] 

11 And thus shall you eat it; with your loins girded [fully dressed], your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand [ready to travel]; and you shall eat it in haste [it is not to be a lingering meal although it became one later]:

it is the LORD’s passover [literally “pass over”]. 12 For I will pass through [over] 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 [Protector].    

13 And the blood shall be to you for a token [sign] upon the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over [protect] you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. [God knows His own, so who was the sign really for?] 

14 And this day shall be to you for a memorial; and you shall keep it a [special] feast to the LORD throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance [ritual] for ever.    

It is obvious that body of the lamb and its blood were two different symbols.  The blood was to show anyone who looked that all the people in the house were under the protection of the LORD and that He was there to save and not to slaughter. (It could even happen that the partakers of the meal could have been out in the desert without a door or a tent, but the symbolism of protection remained, for it is the first gift of grace.) 

So if God was not there to slaughter, then who did kill the firstborn of men and animals?  Some explain it away by saying that God can kill “righteously”, but there is a commandment which says, “Thou shalt not kill” and this idea puts God above His law (which is a transcript of His character) so that won’t work!  Violent death is the result of ultimate force and our God does not use His power for that purpose at any time.

     2 Corinthians 1:

17 [Paul wrote] When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness [or was I serious]? Or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? [It may be this or it may be that, as men do!] 

18 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay [yes and no]. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timothy, was not yea and nay, but in Him was yea [yes (positive) only]. 20 For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God by us. 

Yet God takes the blame for what happened by saying that He did it!  As One who cannot lie, what does He mean by that?  All life comes from Him and therefore He feels responsible for ALL the actions of ALL living beings (the buck stops here), so He says He did it, but we should know better than to accept that in man’s way of thinking.

And we should keep in mind that the God of the Old Testament was the Son of God whom we know as the Christ in the New Testament, for “no man has seen God [the Father] at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father [He is a bosom-buddy], He has declared [stood in for] Him [at all times]” and He never hurt anyone.  John 1:18.  He said, “The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have Life, and that they might have it more abundantly.  I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd gives His Life for the sheep”.  John 10:10-11. 

Therefore He died so that we would not!

Paul wrote about Him when He was manifested in the Old Testament:

      1 Corinthians 10:9-12:

“Neither let us tempt [reject] Christ, as some of them also tempted [Him during the exodus], and were destroyed of [by fiery] serpents. [Numbers 21:5-9.] Neither murmur [complain] you, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of [by] the destroyer. [Numbers 14:2-4; Hebrews 4:17-19.]  Now all these things happened to them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall”.  

No matter how weird it may sound to our modern ears, it was Satan himself who killed his own followers, for he is the destroyer!  And it is he who “has the power of death”.  Hebrews 2:14. 

He had planned to kill the people of God, but the LORD showed by this sacrifice of the lamb that that was not going to happen, for when He said, “against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment” He was simply saying that He would prevent Satan and his angels from carrying out their plan, for it was they who were the “gods”, as it is written of another time. 

    Revelation 9:20.

“And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk . . .”  

Note:  God did not deny Satan and his followers their right to choose their own action, all He did was protect His own from their plan.

But the blood-lust of the devils was up and they were very angry and frustrated, and so they took it out on those whom God could not protect, the Egyptians who had rejected Him.  It was an act of genocide without parallel, for the firstborn were normally the priests, the helpers to the gods!  But just as an angry man will bash his head against a wall, or kick something and break his toe in frustrated rage, so there is a likeness in the anger of the devil, which also explains why he and his supporters killed the firstborn of the innocent animals as well.

The rebellious angels regard humanity as humans look on cattle, and treat them accordingly when it suits.

So we have statements like these:

  {DA 550.6} 

In Christ's kingdom there is no lordly oppression, no compulsion of manner. The angels of heaven do not come to the earth to rule, and to exact homage [or to kill], but as messengers of mercy, to co-operate with men in uplifting humanity [not just Christians].

  {DA 435.1- 436.1}

On Peter's return from the sea, the disciples told him of the Saviour's question ["What was it that you disputed among yourselves by the way?" Mark 9:33], and at last one ventured to ask Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” [What a question when all are equal!!]

The Saviour gathered His disciples about Him, and said to them, “If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant [not a boss or killer] of all.” There was in these words a solemnity and impressiveness which the disciples were far from comprehending. That which Christ discerned they could not see. They did not understand the nature of Christ's kingdom, and this ignorance was the apparent cause of their contention. But the real cause lay deeper. By explaining the nature of the kingdom, Christ might for the time have quelled their strife; but this would not have touched the underlying cause.  Even after they had received the fullest knowledge, any question of precedence might have renewed the trouble. Thus disaster would have been brought to the church after Christ's departure [for one who thinks like that is showing that he/she has not been changed in heart.]

The strife for the highest place was the outworking of that same spirit which was the beginning of the great controversy in the worlds above, and which had brought Christ from heaven to die . . . Lucifer desired God's power, but not His character.  He sought for himself the highest place, and every being who is actuated by his spirit will do the same.  Thus alienation, discord, and strife will be inevitable. [We can be sure that it was Judas Iscariot that started that sort of talk.]  

 [Under these conditions,] Dominion becomes the prize of the strongest [for] The kingdom of Satan is a kingdom of force; every individual regards every other as an obstacle in the way of his own advancement, or a steppingstone on which he himself may climb to a higher place.

While Lucifer counted it a thing to be grasped to be equal with God, Christ, the Exalted One, “made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”  Philippians 2:7, 8. 

Now the cross was just before Him; and His own disciples were so filled with self-seeking -- the very principle of Satan's kingdom -- that they could not enter into sympathy with their Lord, or even understand Him as He spoke of His humiliation for them. 

They had missed the point of John the Baptist’s statement, for it is possible to have a wrong understanding even AFTER we are born again.  He had said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world”.  John 1:29.  He did not say “takes away the SINS”, but “takes away the SIN (singular)” for John was referring to the pass over lamb.   

Even though there must have been thousands of animals for any one Passover ceremony, it is always referred to as one.

But let’s move on with the ritual:

God cannot protect His people forever in their dwellings, for at some time they must come out of their houses, and that’s where the lamb’s body comes in.  When they ate the lamb’s flesh they were, in picture form, eating the flesh of Christ and becoming one with Him, so carrying the protection in themselves as well as externally.  There are two protections – a general one and a personal one just as there are two gifts of grace. 

It is written:

    John 6:53-66:

Then Jesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say to you, except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you have no Life in you.  Whoso eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, has [commenced his] eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.  For My flesh is meat [eternal food] indeed, and My blood is [eternal] drink indeed.  He that eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, dwells in Me, and I in him.  As the living Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats Me, even he shall live by Me . . . From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.

We can see that this statement could so easily be misunderstood by a people who had been taught that they should never eat blood (Leviticus 7:26-27).

They had been told in another place:

    Leviticus 17:10-14:

And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that [habitually] eats any manner of blood; I will even set My face against that soul that eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people [for he will not want to be in My Kingdom of peace after that]

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood [the evidence of death] that makes an atonement for the soul.  Therefore I said to the children of Israel, “No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourns among you eat blood”. 

And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunts and catches any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof [on the ground], and cover it with dust.  For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said to the children of Israel, “You shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eats it shall be cut off [from salvation]”.

[Blood can represent either death or life!]

Even in the sanctuary services the blood which was not used was poured out on the ground.  “And the priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger, and put [some of] it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the [remainder of the] blood thereof at the bottom of the altar”.  Leviticus 4:30.

But that referred to physical blood, and Jesus was speaking spiritually!

And in the new covenant, “cut off” means remaining ignorant of the truth which would make his life much easier and simpler and bring him to the body of true believers, for the more truth we have the closer we are to family of God. 

    John 8:31-32.

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free [independent of men or churches]”. 

But note this thought:

    1 Corinthians 9:19-21:

“For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant to all, that I might gain the more.  And to the Jews I became as a Jew [which he was], that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law [which he was], that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law [which he was], (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law [etc.][Paul was not pretending, but showing different facets of his life to different people.] 

So now you should know why Jesus included the blood in the eating of His “flesh”.  It is a “reversed” illustration like the brass serpent on a pole which represented His saving power!  (Numbers 21:8-9.)  To understand it simply requires a spiritual eye or ear, and therefore this sorts people out.  “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches . . . Revelation 2:7.

Yet the meaning of the Passover ceremony has still been very much misunderstood by many who claim that they know that it refers to the spiritual experience of rebirth!!  The “blood” and the “body” go hand in hand (yet separate) in the practice of the “pass over”.  As we have just seen, the blood (representing His Life/death) is the outward evidence of God’s general protection, but as we shall see, the flesh of the animal represents the new  internal power of the person which is exchanged for the old one just before the new one is “eaten”, and this works from within.  

We should see that the external blood was normally placed on the “horns” of the altar, for they were the visible symbols of power, although in this case it was necessary for the power to be seen in the home, so it was placed on the door posts, while the object lesson of the body is for a more subtle situation.

But now the LORD brings in another symbol before continuing with Passover:

    Exodus 12:

15 [The following] seven days [after the Passover day] shall you eat unleavened bread; even the first day [after the pass over day] you shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. 16 And in the first day there shall be a holy convocation [a rest day], and in the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation [another rest day] to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.

[Because the pass over was on the 14th day of the month it could be any day of the week, therefore the rest days of the Feast could also be any days of the week.  The first one was on the 15th and the last on the 21st of the month. One was for the beginning of knowledge – the other was at the end of it. (They should not be confused with the 7th day weekly Sabbath which was always the same day of the week, although occasionally they would coincide.)]

17 And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for in this self-same day have I brought your armies [tribes] out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall you observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.

18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even [which to us seems to be the 13th as the sun sinks toward sunset], you shall eat unleavened bread [with your meals], until the twenty-first day of the month at even.

19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses [don’t just not use it, but don’t have it in your house!  This is an important part of the ritual!]: for whosoever eats that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. 20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall you eat unleavened bread.

The rituals, Passover and Unleavened Bread, were two different ceremonials with two entirely different meanings, but they were back to back, which is why the Passover sometimes came to be added to the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  The feast was commonly called Easter by the Pagans [although those two occur at two different times of the month].  “Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also.  (Then were the days of Unleavened Bread.)  And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions [4x4] of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people”.  Acts 12:1-4. 

Here is where some confusion begins.  The Passover meal was eaten with unleavened bread (Exodus 12:8), as were the ordinary meals of the next seven days, but the Feast was spread over the seven days and not the eight.  However, of necessity the leaven was left out from the flour for their bread on the day before the pass over (the preparation day, the 13th) and remained so until the 22nd day of the month. In other words, they ate flat bread for that whole period.  It occurred naturally the first time because the flour had not been prepared for bread making (verses 34 and 39), but then the Son of God used it as a symbol in subsequent Passovers, for it became an annual event.

This was to illustrate that the spiritual “seven-day period” of the reality was an indefinite time in which all the wrong ideas and practices of the former life were to be discovered and removed, which is why the leaven was searched for on the first day of the feast.  Exodus 12:15, 18-19.

The ritual of the Passover lamb dealt with the controlling, inward, sin master of the people, while the Feast of Unleavened Bread dealt with their later actions of sins, and doctrines!  The Passover lamb was intended to show HOW God saves us from the internal power of sin, while the Feast showed how WE are to deal with our sins and doctrinal problems, by “eating” the pure Word of God, and ignoring the additions of men.

We need to read the context of the query if we would see the spiritual picture of the Feast.  “Your glorying [rejoicing in your new birth] is not good.  Know you not that a little leaven [yeast] leavens the whole lump [of flour]? [A little misinformation can go a long way!]  Purge out therefore the old leaven [get rid of all the old teachings], that you may be a [entirely] new lump [in your mind], as you are [now] unleavened [in your heart].  For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.  Therefore [for this reason] let us keep the Feast [of Unleavened Bread], not with old [physical] leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness [for false doctrine brings out the use of force when it is defended]; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth”.  1 Corinthians 5:6-8.

First we must be relieved of the burden of the sinmaster, and then we may be taught and practise the truth.

This is how it is written:

    Isaiah 28:

9 Whom shall He teach knowledge?  And whom shall He make to understand doctrine?  Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts [those who have learned to stand on their own feet with Him].

10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.

11 For [but] with stammering lips and another tongue will He [also] speak to this people 12 to whom He said, “This is the [Sabbath] rest wherewith you may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing [that comes after]”: yet they would not hear.

13 But the word of the LORD was to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward [be given an opportunity to reject it], and [as a result] be broken, and snared, and taken.

The Message (MSG)

11-12 But that’s exactly how you will be addressed.
    God will speak to this people
In baby talk, one syllable at a time—
    and he’ll do it through foreign oppressors.
He said before, “This is the time and place to rest,
    to give rest to the weary.
This is the place to lay down your burden.”
    But they won’t listen.

    Matthew 7:

28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine: 29 for He taught them as one having authority [certainty], and not as the scribes.  

     Matthew 16:

6 Then Jesus said to them [His disciples], “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees”.

7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread”. 8 Which when Jesus perceived, He said to them, “O you of little faith [understanding], why reason you among yourselves, because you have brought no bread? 9 Do you not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets [of leftovers] you took up? 10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets you took up [that time also]? [This is evidence that I can always feed you physically.] 

11 How is it that you do not understand that I spoke it not to you concerning [physical ] bread that you should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?”

12 Then understood they how that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees [the church leaders, for many of their teachings were wrong and would lead them away from God. “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes [leaders]”.  Psalm 118:8-9]

Then Moses told the people to do the Passover ritual:

     Exodus 12:

21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said to them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.

22 And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. 23 For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass [hover] over the door, and will not suffer [allow] the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you.  [Even though he spoke the truth Moses was not clear on who was going to kill the firstborn!  That was probably because of his military training.  But here he is speaking of two different people – a protector and a destroyer.]

24 And you shall observe this thing for an ordinance to you and to your sons for ever. 25 And it shall come to pass, when you be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as He has promised, that you shall keep this service. 26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say to you, “What mean you by this service?” 27 that you shall say, “It is the sacrifice of the LORD's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he [the devil] smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses”.   

And the people bowed the head and worshipped [saying, “Thank You” to God]. 28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.  

Do you remember that Paul wrote; “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the [sinful] leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened [sinless] bread of sincerity and truth”? 1 Corinthians 5:8.  By this he did not mean that we should go back to keeping the literal ceremonies, for they were no longer needed after the crucifixion opened men’s eyes to the reality, but that we should do what they represent.

It is very important before we start our participation in the Feast of Unleavened Bread that we have the correct understanding of what happened in Egypt, for it is a picture of what happened in our lives when we became Christians.  (The “Feast” starts immediately we are reborn, and lasts while ever we are alive, and it has been available since the foundation of the world),

However, now we have another problem:

If it was the Son of God who literally killed the firstborn of Egypt, then He is a destroyer, but if it was Satan then that fits in with his character.  But in the symbolic understanding, the “firstborn” also represent the indwelling power of sin which lives in each one of us BEFORE we become Christians, and the LORD does remove that from us when He EXCHANGES lives with us at re-birth. 

The question then becomes, “What does He do with that old controlling power?”  The sanctuary services teach that He takes it into Himself to HOLD it for eternity, but that’s another story. (He does a similar thing with our confessed sins when He “eats” a portion of the body of the sin offering.  Leviticus 6:26.)

So He does NOT destroy the sin power – He holds it in safe keeping, for it is like a virus which if released would cause sin to rise up again.  Because He is God He can do this, and because He is God He has become our Saviour. 

But the guilt of the actions of sin (and their results) which we confess and forsake  AFTER rebirth He holds only until the Close of Probation when He intends to return them to their rightful originator, the scapegoat.  Sometime after that Lucifer will commit suicide in the Lake of Fire as he killed the firstborn of Egypt (in anger and despair), and that is to be the end of the power of confessed sins of the Christians.    

Let’s read on:

    Exodus 12:

29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, [translation: He could not stop the destroyer from killing, for he has free will] from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon [for they were his (the devil’s) subjects]; and all the firstborn of cattle.

30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. 31 And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, “Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both you and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as you have said. 32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also [by your absence]”. 

33 And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, “We be all dead men [if you stay any longer]”. 34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.

35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed(!) of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment [as payment for their slavery time, and which would be used in the building of the sanctuary]: 36 and the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent(!) to them such things as they required. And they spoiled [bankrupted] the Egyptians. [That nation has never been as powerful since then.]

37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children [a total of over a million, when we count the wives].  38 And a mixed multitude [a lot of converted Egyptian families and Hebrew/Egyptian couples] went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.

39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual [they left in the early hours of the morning].

Now the LORD reminds us that we should think carefully about what we hear or read by giving us a simple example of how faulty understanding can become apparently true

    Exodus 12:

40 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the self-same day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. 42 It is a night to be much observed to the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.

It would be very easy to repeat (and many do) that the people spent 430 years in Egypt, but the fact is that although Abraham went down temporarily into Egypt early in the life of the Hebrew branch of the church, it was in Joseph’s time that they became permanent dwellers in that land, so it is not strictly correct to say that.  And it was quite a while after that before they became slaves.

Paul tells us that it was the giving of the promise that began the time.  “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.  He says not, ‘And to seeds’, as of many; but as of one, ‘And to your Seed’, which is Christ.  And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after [the promise], cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.  For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise [as a gift]”. Galatians 3:16-18.

And it is written in another place:

    Exodus 1:1-7: 

“Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt [to live permanently]; every man and his household [which] came with Jacob.  Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher [66 people, Genesis 46:26].  And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already [and there were four in his family]

And Joseph died [when he was 110 years old, Genesis 50:26], and all his brothers [died], and all that generation. And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them”.   [That was about 215 years before the exodus!] 

And there are many such supposed truths that we hold and teach which do not have any Scriptural authority, or we have misread them, and therefore we have chinks in our armour of protection.  They may not appear to be very important on the surface, but the underlying truth is that in those cases we have NOT rightly divided the word of God, either though ignorance or laziness, (or, worst of all, because someone told us so and we have never checked), and they will hasten our physical deaths!!  So the Son of God warns us to take care that we are not cut off from life before our time!

Isaiah tells us that in becoming one of us, Jesus took upon Himself our human nature, and that all He knew He had to learn from His Father, just as we have to learn.  Speaking in behalf of Jesus, he records this brilliant insight into the private life of Jesus: "The LORD God [My Father] has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary.  He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned . . . and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away" (Isaiah 50:4-5).

Jesus says that as a man He had no wisdom of His own: “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me” (John 7:16). “I have many things to say . . . which I heard [or read] from Him” (John 8:26). “I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things” (verse 28).

It is important that we understand that true Christians may individually hold many wrong ideas which will keep us from being in harmony with one another.  Sorting those out will be one of the purposes of the 1,000 years we will spend in heaven, although it could be done here on earth before that if we were willing to sit together and read (study) our Bible under the guidance of the same Spirit. 

But the religious systems set up by man which are based on entirely wrong principles cannot be sorted out, for they have the same spirit which actuated the disciples to enquire as to who was the greatest in the kingdom, and we must leave them (at least in our minds) if we would walk more closely with Him. 

How can we know what spirit men are of?  One common indicator is that they will tell us that we are lost if we do not believe and follow their way.   

Another is the doctrine of Christ in the flesh.

    1 John 4:1-3.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 

Hereby know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist [in place of], whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world [so its been around for a long time]”.

What does “in the flesh” mean?               

Most professed Christian denominations believe that He was IN a human body while on earth, but have differing opinions on HOW He lived it.  Some say that He was a God doing human things, but the Spirit is telling us that Jesus was a REAL human from birth, and that is proven by His being provided a body by His earthly mother.  So the issue comes down to His LIFE after that. 

Jesus Himself tells us about that:

      John 5:30.

I can of My own self do nothing: as I hear [the Spirit], I judge: and My judgment is just; because I seek not My own will, but the will of the Father which has sent Me”.   

That is telling us that He NEEDED a Saviour and a Guide while on earth just as we do.  We have already read that He was advised every morning what He should do that day, now we can read that that was not easy for Him. 

    Hebrews 5:5-9.

“So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made a High Priest; but He that said to Him, ‘You are My Son, today have I begotten You’ [did it].  As He said also in another place, ‘You are a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec’ [not Aaron].

“Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears [He was very needy] to Him that was able to save Him from death [through sinning], and was heard in that He feared [respected]; though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect [complete], He became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him”. 

This is why John wrote, “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her [them, the man-made systems], My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.  For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities’.”    Revelation  18:4-5.  God does not want us to have more complications than we have to.

Therefore this next section of the Passover text is the most important for us today.  It is a neglected truth, not a misread one, but lack of it causes our whole gospel to stand on shaky ground. 

As we noted before, it is possible to be a true Christian (born again) and yet hold a multitude of errors in our understanding, and these will have a bearing on what we can do for the LORD, but not prohibit it. However, this one doctrinal point should be accurate, for it is a foundation stone.  (See Hebrews 6:1-3.)

   Exodus 12:

43 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance [rules] of the passover: There shall no stranger [non-Hebrew] eat thereof: 44 but every man's servant that is bought for money, when you have circumcised [thereby adopting] him, then shall he eat thereof [for he is part of the family].

45 A foreigner and a [daily] hired servant shall not eat thereof. 

46 In one house [where it was cooked] shall it be eaten; you shall not carry forth ought [any part] of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall you break a bone thereof. 47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.

48 And when a stranger [a non-Jew] shall sojourn with [live among] you, and will [desires to] keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised [first], and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. 

49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and to the stranger that sojourns among you. 

It takes three to four days to recover from adult circumcision and that space was given by the delay from the 10th to the 14th day in the ceremony.

We have just read that BEFORE eating the pass over Lamb it was absolutely NECESSARY to be circumcised!!  Why? 

Because the eating of the lamb symbolises the entrance of the Life of the Son of God into the participant, and we cannot have two lives (two spiritual natures) existing side by side in us – the old must go first before the new can enter.  

We can have old spiritual (mis)understandings, but no old spiritual power after eating the Lamb.

This is illustrated in the Law where we can have only one spouse at a time. “Know you not, brothers [and sisters], (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law [of God] has dominion over a man as long as he lives?  For [example] the woman which has a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he lives [Exodus 20:14]; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law [the controlling power] of her husband [not the law of her God].  So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress [trying to serve two masters]: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

Wherefore, my brothers [and sisters], you [or part of you] also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit to God”.  Romans 7:1-4.  Sometimes the original “husband” is called the “old man” and the replacement one the “new man”.  Romans 6:6 and Ephesians 4:22-24.

The remarried woman may carry over some old habits taught by her first husband, but now she learns new behaviour from the second.

From this it is obvious that some portion of our life must be removed (be “dead” to us) BEFORE we can receive the new, and God has used the foreskin to illustrate this.  Moses told the people: “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked [proud of yourself]”.  Deuteronomy 10:16.

We are either sinner or saint, but we cannot be both at the same time! 

We can be a sinning Christian, or even a good moral sinner, but like day and night, light and darkness, they CANNOT control together in the one body.  Therefore we have statements like these in the Bible: “Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner”.  Proverbs 11:31. “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”  1 Peter 4:18. 

And this is something that should underlie our whole gospel.  If we teach that we have two controlling natures (husbands) as a Christian we have missed the base of the Passover, which is circumcision.  We do have a spiritual nature and a physical one, but this doctrine is not referring to that coupling, but to the fact that only one spiritual power can live in us at any one time.

So what causes the Christian to sin?  Nothing, except his or her own choice!!  For God (the divine nature) will not force His will on us and the old nature is gone.  Any other excuse is a cop-out!   And this understanding should be reflected in our prayers!!!

The final verse in the chapter is:  

     Exodus 12:

50 Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. 51 And it came to pass the selfsame day [the day of their spiritual rebirth], that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies [tribes]

 

Conclusion:

If we would teach the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth of the passover rituals, then we need to explain circumcision and the rebirth together.  Which comes first? 

And we need to be clear that there are two controlling natures which can operate in humanity, but only one in each individual – one is a slave master and the other is chosen willingly.  But we cannot serve two masters – it must be one or the other.  Matthew 6:24.

šššš

 


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated,

but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.

 

Next query. To be discussed from March 1st 2016.

Next query:

Why are we sometimes taught that the words “I die daily” apply to the rebirth when nature and human biology clearly teach that we can only be born once, physically AND spiritually?   

“I die” is the OPPOSITE of “I live”.

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