The Feast of Passover
(Exodus 12, Deuteronomy 16:1-8, Leviticus 23:4-8, Num 28:16-25)
The Feast of Passover has three different aspects of understanding and operation. Many mysteries of the Kingdom are demonstrated and revealed in the history and observance of the first seasonal Feast of the Lord.
First, there is the historical record of the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt at the first Passover.
Secondly, God gives instructions to remember the Passover and observe this time every year. This appointed time is given as an ordinance to God's people forever. (That's a long time)
Thirdly this Feast speaks to us as a picture and example of our own deliverance from the power and bondage of sin into living in relationship to God. Here God himself begins to teach us, provide our daily needs, and prepare us for the difficulties and warfare that lie ahead of us. The plan of God is to lead us into victorious living separated from everything not of Him. This is our fulfillment and our peace, but we cannot achieve this without a fight and it all begins with our deliverance from Egypt.
The Historical Record
Let's begin with the historical account when God delivered His people, Israel. This is found in Exodus chapter 12.
God says that this day is to be commemorated at the same time every year.
"This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD--a lasting ordinance. New International Version
It is absolutely important to keep in mind that the observance of the Feast did not then, and does not now activate our deliverance. Our deliverance from sin has its source in the heart and desire of God.
And the LORD said: [to Moses] "I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, NKJV
He has compassion
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. NIV
And this is His primary motivation for saving, healing and restoring His people. The word "compassion" means more than just "pity" or "feeling sorry for", it also means to "suffer with". Both the Hebrew and Greek words rendered as "compassion" speak of being moved from within your bowels. That is being moved deeply, and in a profound way, not just in an emotional or temporary manner.
This kind of compassion is the jealousy of God being aroused to fight and war FOR us until we are completely delivered out of the power of our enemies.
There was certainly a measure of obedience required of those slaves of Egypt to be spared the judgment of death that was declared against the gods of Egypt. They had to "take a lamb for a house", roast and eat the WHOLE LAMB, sprinkle the doorpost with some of the blood using hyssop (a common low growing weed), eat bread made in haste, that is, bread made with no leaven. They were to eat with their staffs in their hand, and be ready to leave forever the land of Egypt. Their sandals were to be on their feet.
These actions are about the making of a covenant and beginning to come into covenant relationship with God. The lamb was to be inspected for three days prior to its acceptance and use by the family. The lamb had to be perfectly free of any defect or disease. Jesus was identified as the "lamb of God" by John the baptist who "takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). The lamb is the covenant substitute for the family of man. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and the angel of death was coming to visit all of Egypt on passover night. Without the blood of the lamb on the doorpost, death justly crossed the threshold of the house to execute justice upon its inhabitants.
However, if the doorposts bore the correct signs of the covenant, namely the blood of the perfect lamb, then death "passed over" the household and all who lived within that house entered into a close covenant relationship with God. God is the God of living and not the dead (Matthew 22:32)and we can see a picture of a baptism in these events. Because of their obedience and belief that the Lord was going to deliver them, Israel passed through Epypt, a land where death has just reigned and wrecked havoc on all living creatures (including the cattle!), and entered into another land beyond the jurisdiction and power of the Egyptian civilization. Death passed-over Israel and Israel passed through Death into Freedom with the Lord!
When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. New International Version
Deliverance is a time of ACTION and nourishment. Deliverance is the time when we take up our true authority, and leave the land controlled by ungodly idols and oppression!
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new
New King James Version
Beginning at Passover, all of Israel begins to eat different foods. There is a new source for their life. Before they leave, they eat a whole lamb, a lamb shared by each household. They make and take bread without yeast, and they are led into the wilderness where God begins to feed them with "manna" (literally meaning "what is it") from heaven. All of these changes in their eating speak of Jesus the Messiah.
I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, he who believes in Me [who adheres to, trusts in, relies on, and has faith in Me] has (now possesses) eternal life.
I am the Bread of Life [that gives life--the Living Bread]. Your forefathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and [yet] they died.
[But] this is the Bread that comes down from heaven, so that [any]one may eat of it and never die.
I [Myself] am this Living Bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this Bread, he will live forever; and also the Bread that I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh (body). Amplified Bible
The Bible tells us that they (Israel) were (and are) to be for us signs and examples (1 Corinthians 10:1-11). The deliverance of the people of Israel speaks and demonstrates several essential truths about our own deliverance from the slavery and bondage to sin. I will detail more of these later, they are very powerful and living images.
The First Passover (in Exodus 12) shows how we are born, but we are born "dead", that is, separated from close communion with God. At birth, we are living under the relentless bondage of many other powers just like the gods of Egypt. We are dead to God, that is, we do not have the ability to perceive Him and hear Him, understand who He is or the true nature of His character. We have no concept or experience with His benevolence and provision. Something else must be birthed that is not in us at our first birth. If we are ever enter the Kingdom of God we must be born again...
In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." New International Version
1 Peter 1:23-24
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
New International Version
We need a deliverer to invade the land of Egypt and provide the way out.
This is our Passover day! The Day we are born again, born from above, born of the Spirit of God (John 3:3,7). This is to us the beginning of days, (Exodus 12:2) this is where we leave the bondage and power of sin and enter into the place where the Lord begins to deal with us face to face (Deuteronomy 5:3,4). This is the wilderness, where God does many things. He raises us from being slaves to warriors; He begins to show us the provision that comes from heaven... More about that in another article...
Establishing the Feast
God establishes Passover observance as an appointed time, a special time to be celebrated after Israel is delivered out of Egypt. For us today, this would be AFTER we are delivered from the power of sin. First deliverance, then remembrance. He tells them, that this is to be observed every year in its season, beginning on the 14th day on the month of Aviv "forever" (which includes now).
I am trying to emphasize at the beginning of this teaching the difference between the actual delivering from Egypt (sin) and the day of remembrance, the Feast (appointed time) that we observe. Remember, that it is the Lord who has given us the Feast of Passover, and it is a powerful Sabbath season to keep, but keeping the Passover is NOT the Deliverance itself. Being "born again" comes as an historical event in our lives and the Feast comes every year and reminds us, refreshes us, cleans out all the cobwebs and confusion that may have entered our hearts since the last season of Passover.
let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, Amplified Bible
This Month Shall Be Your Beginning...
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, "This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. NIV
This is not just a spring house cleaning for the "select" believers to use as a beneficial "add-on" to our regular
Christian lives. Keeping leaven (sin) out of our lives, and remembering just how, when, and where we were delivered from Egypt (sin) are LIFE and DEATH matters. These times are important; they are God's ideas, and His provision for us. To decide on our own that they are not particularly necessary for us is arrogant and dangerous. The particulars of what we do to keep the Feast are significant as well; the Lord has His own purposes in mind. I know from experience that He speaks to our hearts during these times in ways that are not available in other times or seasons.
Also, no matter what behaviors and traditions you do, if you do not bring your heart open and humble before Him, you will find the Feast hollow and legalistic. Before the feast of Passover begins, we are instructed to "get the leaven out of your house". This is an operation of co-operation, inspection, and confession with the Spirit of God.
1 John 1:6-9
If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. New International Version
Without the power of God in our lives this would be utterly impossible to rid ourselves of sin, we cannot clean ourselves up enough to be sin free (leaven free), but AFTER we are delivered we can...and we must do this.
Speaking to the issue of tolerating immorality in the church at Corinth, Paul exhorts,
1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?
Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.
Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. New American Standard Updated
We are given this Feast to remind us and teach us, and encourage us, and demonstrate the need for constantly keeping the leaven (fermentation, corruption, sin) out of our houses (don't you kow that YOU are the temple of the living God - 1 Corinthians 3:16)
We need to remind ourselves about how our relationship with God started...
I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey--the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."
New International Version
So let's remember the day when the Lord invaded our Egypt and join with Him once again at this appointed time of refreshment and remembrance.
For more on Passover see:
"The Feast of Unleavened Bread"... ...Coming soon
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