The Passover

The Feast of Unleavened Bread.

 

In Exodus 12, the story of the Passover is described.  This is a day that the Jews celebrate this special festival to the Lord, because He passed over the houses of the Israelites whilst they were captive in Egypt.

Wherefore, say to the Israelites: "I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as My own people, and I will be your God". (Exodus 6:6-7).

 

In Exodus 8, God had confronted Pharaoh through Moses, telling him, "Let My people go so that they may worship Me." However, because he continually refused to do so, the Almighty brought upon Egypt various plagues. 

The name Passover is derived from the tenth plague - the death of the firstborn -  that fell on Egypt when Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go.                  

For the tenth plague to skip the Jewish People, God told them to slaughter a lamb and mark their doorposts with its blood so that the destroyer would know to "pass over" that home.  "When I see the blood, I will pass over you". (Exodus 12:13).

In this tenth and final plague, Jewish (and Egyptian) firstborns were only spared by the blood of the lamb when it was applied to the doorposts of their homes in obedience to God's instruction.  "The blood shall be a sign to you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt".  (Exodus 12:13).

In the Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt: there is an avenue of ram-headed sphinxes, a symbol of the god Amun. Each one is holding a statue of the Rameses II in its paws. Because sheep were associated with several Egyptian deities, the sacrifice of a lamb at the First Passover would have been interpreted as a humiliation of these false gods.

Foreseeing their speedy deliverance after this final plague, God instructed them to prepare unleavened bread as there was no time for the bread to rise, which is why the weeklong feast is also called the Festival of Unleavened Bread.  (Exodus 12:15).

"For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel". (Exodus 12:15).

Israel was then told to: "Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt.  Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come".  (Exodus 12:17).

At this point in the Jewish history, God determined that He would deliver His people from bondage in Egypt through the "Judgement through Plagues".  "So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them.  After that, he will let you go". (Exodus 3:20).

God poured out His wrath upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians in the form of the ten plagues.  Each of the plagues proved the supremacy of the One True God, over all the false "gods" of Egypt.

 

Israel was told that when they entered into the land (the Promised land) that the Lord would give them as He had promised, they were to observe this ceremony.  And when their children asked, "What does this ceremony mean to you?" Then they were to tell them, "It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when He struck down the Egyptians".

 

It is interesting to note that in the Tribulation Time, (yet future), when people will worship the anti-Christ, some of the plagues that were inflicted on Egypt will be repeated, as God pours out His wrath:  blood, hail, darkness, and painful sores.  "The first angel will pour out his bowl on the people.  Ugly and painful sores will break out on the people who have the mark of the beast and worship his image.  The second angel will pour out his bowl on the sea.  It will be turned into blood like the blood of a dead person.  Every living thing in the sea will die"  (Revelation 16:2-4).


The Promise of Passover Fulfilled in Jesus

In Jewish tradition at every Passover, a child asks four traditional questions called Mah Nishtana (Why is this night different than all other nights?)

But perhaps the most important question to ask is, "How will Adonai pass over me personally to save me from His wrath and judgment?"

The answer is the same as at the first Passover so long ago-by faithfully and obediently applying the blood of the Lamb. But how can we do this today when there is no Temple sacrifice?

When we put our faith in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Christ) and the sacrifice He made to make atonement for our sins, then we have assurance that we will be set free from slavery to sin and the Kingdom of darkness so that we may enter into eternal life.

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die". (John 11:25-26).


Believers in Jesus have the assurance that when God judges the world, as He judged ancient Egypt, and sees the blood applied over our lives, He will "pass over" us.

"For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His dear Son". (Colossians 1:13). 


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