THE FEAST OF PASSOVER
(Ro 15:3-6, 2 Tim. 3:14-17, Hosea 12:10, 1 Cor. 10:1-11)
1. The first Passover was observed by the children of Israel in the land of Egypt on the eve of their departure out of the house of bondage into the wilderness (Ex. 12:1-14)
2. Fourteen hundred years later the true Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ, submitted to crucifixion and death on the eve of the very day of the Jewish Passover to provide the once-for-all atonement price for the transgressions of mankind (John 1:19-34, 19:13-1,8, 1 Pet 1:18-21, Heb. 10:17-22; 13:2a-21). '
3. When an individual accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Preserver and Lord he "must be prepared to follow the Lord in the pathway leading progressively to complete separation and consecration (Matt 10:34-39, Ro. 6:6-18, John 3:1-11, Gal. 2:20.
THE FEAST OF PASSOVER
"I have surely seen the affliction of my people, who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their task masters, for I am aware of their sufferings. So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite." (Ex. 3.7-8)
The first Passover was observed by the children of Israel in the land of Egypt, on the eve of their departure out of the house of bondage into the wilderness.. God had raised up a deliverer for the people in the person of the man Moses, and had equipped him with such power and authority in the Spirit that he was to Pharaoh even "as God." Many and dreadful and great were the signs and wonders which were wrought by his hand, so that Egypt became utterly wasted at the hands of a God of judgment. One by one the plagues fell upon the land. Time and again Pharaoh promised to let the people go, only to harden his heart when the plague was lifted. Finally God declared His judgment upon the first-born of all the land of Egypt and only then were the Israelites allowed to depart, so dreadful and far-reaching was the destruction of the Almighty.
For the purpose of protection and deliverance was the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb instituted, and faithful observance of the associated rites and ceremonies assured the preservation and freedom of Israel in the hour of God's judgments upon the land (Ex. 12:51).
This mighty demonstration of God's love and faithfulness was a foreshadow or type of a greater deliverance to come. The greater deliverance was through the sacrifice of the true Passover Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, to make available for all mankind cleansing from sin (John 1:29). It was not sufficient that the lamb was slain, for the blood was also to be applied to the doorposts and lintel and the flesh of the lamb eaten. One symbolic application of the lintel and doorposts is that of, head or thoughts and heart or emotions. The flesh of the lamb is an appropriate symbol of the Scriptures themselves. For, the individual this now makes possible continuing appropriation of the available cleansing blood to atone f6r the soul enabling purity of thought and emotion, resulting in proper action, as well as the continual eating and digestion of the truth contained in, the Scriptures (Heb. 9:22, 13:20-21, John 6:47-58).
"Now the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 'This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.'" (Ex. 12:1-2). Scripture indicates that the sacrificial lamb without spot or blemish, was to be shut up on the tenth day of the first month, Nisan, of the sacred year, kept four days and then sacrificed on the evening of the fourteenth day in anticipation of deliverance from Egypt True to the precision of the divine timetable did the sacrificial Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, await His time four "days" or four thousand years in the heavenlies before coming to earth and submitting to crucifixion on the very day of the Jewish Passover (2 Pet 3:8, John 18:28, 19:l4-l8).
It was on the basis of this predicted Passover event, and on the very day before its fulfillment, that Jesus instituted the Passover supper so that the old and natural might give way to the new and spiritual (Mk. 14:22-25, I Cor. 15:46, Heb lO-7 22, 13:20-21).
Since the Hebrew calendar is based on the lunar cycle it is not coincidental that on the fourteenth day of each month as the sun sets the moon rises full. The designated lamb sacrificed at sunset on the fourteenth day of the first month, Nisan, clearly depicts the sacrificial death of God, in human flesh, in order that the human soul, symbolized by the moon, might live, rising upward in its full reflection of the light of the descending sun (John l2:24).
In many place's in Scripture the phrase the "day of the Lord" is used and must be understood in many prophetic reference's in terms of the reckoning of time from God's perspective.. It indicates His "day" is the great 1,000 year sabbath following man's six 1,000 year days from Adam's fall of fruitless toil in an attempt to bring forth on his own, a lasting peace and a just and equitable order on the earth. Therefore,.. the Lord has purposed to direct, the affairs on earth in all nations which, choose, to, enter and remain within His kingdom rule when His "day" is fully inaugurated.
The "day of the 'Lord" does not arrive in suddenness. It begins or, dawns gradually. This can be seen, from either of two perspectives. It can be seen, the natural phenomenon of a new day as it is brought about by the turning of the earth and the gradual increase of the light of the sun in a particular spot or area. Long before the sun actually appears over the horizon, there is the dawning of light and its increasing brightness. It can also be seen from the perspective of the beginning of a new twenty-four hour day as it was reckoned by, the people of Israel in the days of our Lord., Their new day began at sunset and progressed, through the four watches of the first twelve hours from six P. M to six A. M. ft is this latter perspective which assists in an understanding of the purposes of God at this time.
The Lord Jesus emphasized repeatedly the necessity of being alert relative to His coming again. Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time is'. It is like a man, away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert. Therefore, be on the alert--for you do not know when, the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, at cock crowing, or in the morning; - -lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all, 'Be on the alert!'" (Mk. 13:33-37). The admonition to "be on the alert" is intimately linked with the references to the watches of the night as they were designated at that time under the Roman rule. The first watch referred to as "in the evening" was from six to nine; the second was from nine to twelve and was called the "mid-night" watch; the third from twelve to three was designated the "cock crowing" watch and the fourth watch from three to six is spoken of as in the morning.
Although Jesus was emphasizing to those He was addressing, the fact that they did not yet understand the exact time of His second coming He was also giving a veiled insight into the various phases of that coming (Rev. l9:l0). Actually there is a phase or episode of His coming that is fulfilled in each of the four watches mentioned. According to the Jewish reckoning of time, a new day of twenty four hours always began in the evening with the setting of the sun. Thus a "new day" begins with the setting in of darkness. However, "darkness" is always associated with the world and not with Christ and those who are seriously engaged in following Him. This is pointed out by Paul in I Thess. 5:1-6; "Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, 'Peace and safety!' then destruction will, come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober." In those days people generally did very little after sunset and with darkness setting in they went to bed and to sleep, rising early in the morning with the rising of the sun.
But notice that Paul says', "let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober." Here we have an enigma, which can only be solved as we realize the difference between adequately prepared Christians and the world. All Christians have the potential to become "the sons of light and sons of day" and not of night nor of darkness. Therefore when Jesus speaks of His coming first "in the evening," He is referring to that time period at the end of the age as a "new day" is beginning. To the world it means the setting in of increased darkness, but to those who are "alert, "this first watch of the "new day", means an increase of spiritual light or truth. It is His coming in a further revelation of Himself to give understanding to His intimate followers who are seeking, accepting and implementing the understanding.
It is a "new day" however, only to those who are seeking the understanding; to those who are not sleeping as in the world. Many have been witnessing for some time the "coming" of the Lord "in the evening," the first watch of the "new day". Never before since the days of the apostles in the first century has there been such an increase in spiritual illumination and understanding as in this day and prophecy indicates that mankind may have already entered the second watch to be culminated at midnight. Details of the subsequent phases of the Lord's second coming, as they correspond to the remaining "watches" of the night, will be developed under the events to which they relate.
Even to begin to understand what the Lord's plan is for this day and what He requires for effective participation in it an individual must recognize and accept3 at least intellectually, the basic ethics of the Christian faith. In this position there is a measure of understanding and provision (John 6:37).
"Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on toward maturity." (Heb. 6:l)