Passover: Instructions & Institution

Exodus 11-15; In this last plague from Yahweh, we find there is so much more than just the hard-hearted Pharaoh at stake. The 10th plague is the death plague. When we look at Egypt – “called the house of slavery” we can draw from this phrase – it means enslaved to sin and its bondage over us. Sin is not going to let us go easily, much less go to worship the LORD! In the beginning of the plagues, Pharaoh hardened his heart. But by the last three plagues we find that the LORD knowing Pharaoh’s intentions and ego, hardened his heart further. The point of the plagues wasn’t just to get Israel out of Egypt, but also that the LORD El Shaddai would be glorified through His work in Egypt and the bringing down of Pharaoh. The news of the “LORD’s strong hand” was spread all over and for many years kept in the memories of Israel and the surrounding nations. Some 40 years later Rahab, recalls the great defeat and victory God/Israel had over the Egyptians. The Memorial of the Passover while being an Israelite Feast – it has great significance for people of Faith in Jesus Christ. The instructions for observance are important with respect to the “unblemished Lamb” – for such was Jesus. We find that the Institution of the Passover was the New Beginning of days for Israel. Their Jewish calendar is based on the event. The month is Nissan correlates to our month of March/April; hence Easter during this time of the calendar. The Lamb was to be taken and observed for 4 days; this observance was to ensure that there wasn’t any defect in the Lamb. Jesus entered into Jerusalem on Sunday and on Thursday; four days later the Religious leaders came to take him and crucify him. Jesus meet the requirement of the Unblemished Lamb. Required was the absence of Leaven; this has been over emphasized in the Lord Supper for Christians today. The reason for no leaven was because the people were to be in a poster of readiness. Some have equated the admonition of Jesus to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees [Matthew 16:6 -ff] as leaven has the meaning of sin. The Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Passover over time became jointed together into a week-long Feast to the Lord. Jesus in the Upper Room with the disciples on Thursday was observing the Feast of Unleavened Bread – even though it was called the Passover. Passover did not occur until the Sabbath Friday and the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb in the Temple. Jesus was the Passover Lamb – he was scourged and crucified at the time the Passover Lambs were being sacrificed in the Temple. However, Jesus’ sacrifice as the Lamb of God was a one time completion of the sacrifices – that’s why the Temple Veil was torn, no longer did there need to be a Lamb sacrifice or a Day of Atonement – Jesus in Hebrews is the High Priest and the Lamb [blood] sacrifice once and for all. The Blood was to be placed on the doorposts and the lintel; the presence of the Blood [which makes a cross] would cause the “death angel to ‘Passover’ the house.” When the blood of Jesus is applied to the repentant person, it is effectual for “passing over” the sins of the person and the eradication of death – that’s why we have eternal life – death no more holds sway over us. The Resurrection is proof that death has been defeated by Jesus. Sin and death have been dealt with and the Believer is “free” to live the abundant life in Christ – John 10:10b and Col 1:27.  The institution and Memorial were to be perpetual for Israel until the time of Jesus – who would come to “fulfill the Law” of sacrifice. The Memorial Feast finds its counterpart for us in the Lord’s Supper/Communion observance. This is an Ordinance not a Sacrament. In other words we observe for “remembering nor for saving.”  Israel was to remember and pass on the great deliverance from Egypt – just as we are called to remember the deliverance from sin by Jesus through the Lord’s Supper table. Israel fail miserably in remembering which so often led to their troubles and falling away. The failed to remember the Lord’s feasts and celebration such as the Year of Jubilee and Sabbatical Year – this directly relates to the 70 years in Babylon captivity, marking the number of times Israel forgot the Lord’s Feasts. We must remember and pass on to our children the “why” of the things we do for in doing so we exalt and bring glory to God for His “righteous powerful strong hand.”

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