Monday, April 6, 2009

The Lord's Passover: Part 1

"Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs...On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn - both men and animals - and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt." Exodus 12:7, 12-13 (NIV)

Each year the Jewish people celebrate the Passover, or He-Pesach (for an audio pronunciation of this word click on the speaker icon next to "Pesach" here and the Feast of Unleavened Bread to commemorate their deliverance from Egypt. According to the Jewish calendar, Passover occurs on the tenth day of the first month, Nisan (Abib), and the full moon, or between March and April by today's calendar. Traditionally, the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the fifteenth day of the month of Nisan. Both festivals are linked in time with the Christian Easter celebration.

God instructed His people to choose a year-old lamb "without defect" (12:5) and prepare it "with bitter herbs" (v8). The herbs represented the bitterness of slavery under Pharoah. "[F]rom the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day" (v18-20) the bread was to be prepared without yeast and all yeast was to be removed from the house. Because the bread would not have to rise, when the time came, it was symbolic of the peoples' ability to leave in haste. They were to eat all of the lamb the first night, burn any that was left, and eat the unleavened bread for seven days. But it was what they were to do with the blood of the spotless lamb that holds the most importance and reveals to us God's future plans for mankind.

"Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. 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." (12:21-23)

At precisely midnight the Lord fulfilled His promise and every firstborn of man and animal was struck down (v29), except for those who had obeyed God's instructions. As He passed by the houses of His people, the lambs blood covering the door posts spared them from the destruction and prepared them for the deliverance that swiftly came.

In the next post, I would like to move you forward to another time when a Lamb's blood was spilled for deliverance, not only for the Jews, but for all mankind. I hope you return to share in the joyful celebration of this event.

No comments: