Posts Tagged ‘death of the firstborn’

The LORD’s Passover – Pesach

“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” (Exodus 12:14).

Blood on the doorpost and lintel

The LORD’s Passover is the first annual Feast of the LORD.  It is the   memorial to the extraordinary account of God’s judgment on Egypt’s gods and Israel’s miraculous deliverance from a life of slavery.   The Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, began Israel’s physical redemption as God’s holy nation and they were to  remember their salvation from death to life in the ‘appointed time’ called Passover. 

Hebrew Word Pictures

Passover or Pesach – פסח

Peh פ – A Mouth means ‘to speak, pour out’

Samech ס –  A Prop means ‘to support and protect’

Chet ח – A Fence means ‘inner chamber’

The Hebrew word picture for pesach: “To pour out protection in the inner chamber.”

For hundreds of years the descendants of Jacob were enslaved in Egypt building Pharaoh great cities.  They were oppressed with hard labor from digging clay to making bricks and all kinds of field work.  They were shown no mercy by their overseers.  In spite of the  oppression, their population increased.  Pharaoh commanded the midwives to kill all baby boys as they were born, but because they feared God, they let the boys live.  Pharaoh then ordered that all baby boys be thrown into the Nile River. 

One infant boy from a Levite family was placed in a papyrus basket and floated in the Nile river.  He was found by Pharaoh’s daughter who named him Moses or Moshe which means ‘pulled out of the water.’ She located his mother and paid her to nurse him.  When he was old enough, he left his mother and went to live in Pharaoh’s house as a prince of Egypt.

As an adult, Moshe struggled with what he saw happening to his people, the Hebrew people.   In a moment of anger, he killed a man.  When word of it spread to Pharaoh, he feared for his life and ran to the land of Midian on the northwest Arabian peninsula.  He became a shepherd and married Tzipporah, the daughter of a Midian priest.    They had two sons named Gershom and Elieazer.   

God heard the cries of the children of Israel.  He saw their bondage and their misery.  Through a burning bush, He called Moshe to become their deliverer.  He told Moshe to go to Pharaoh and tell him to let His people go.  Even so, God warned Moshe that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart until he understood through the death of his firstborn son that Israel is the firstborn son of God.  Armed with a staff in his hand and the name of God – the Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, the “I Am that I Am”- Moses started out for Egypt.  During his journey, Moshe met Aaron and they returned to confront Pharaoh together.

Egypt was culture of death.   Their gods and goddesses glorified death.   Their Pharaohs were immortalized in grand pyramid tombs filled with symbols of death.   Their book for immortalizing those who passed on was called the “Book of the Dead.”   So God gave them what they worshipped and honored the most – death.

Through Moshe, God judged each of the gods of Egypt with plagues: water to blood, frogs, gnats or lice, flies, cattle disease, boils, hailstones, locusts, and darkness.   The people of Egypt suffered.  The land of Egypt suffered.  Even with the loss of livestock and crops, Pharaoh would not relent and set his slaves free.  Then, God’s  ‘appointed time’ of deliverance arrived.

“Moshe said [to Pharaoh], “Here is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight I will go out into Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt will die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh sitting on his throne to the firstborn of the slave-girl at the handmill, and all the firstborn of the livestock. There will be a horrendous wailing throughout all the land of Egypt — there has never been another like it, and there never will be again. But not even a dog’s growl will be heard against any of the people of Israel, neither against people nor against animals. In this way you will realize that the LORD distinguishes between Egyptians and Israel. All your servants will come down to me, prostrate themselves before me and say, “Get out! — you and all the people who follow you!” and after that, I will go out!’ ” And he went out from Pharaoh in the heat of anger” (Exodus 11:4-8).

Preparations Begin

“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. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household” (Exodus 12:1-3).

Though the children of Israel experienced the first three plagues against Egypt, God separated them from the rest.  In order to protect His people from the death of the firstborn, He had them bring a lamb or goat into their home for four days.  It had to be an animal without defect, a first-year male, and enough to feed each household. 

“Take care of them [the goat or lamb] until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.  Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door frames of the houses where they eat the lambs”(Exodus 12:-6-7).

After caring for their animals for four days, the Israelites were to slaughter them at twilight, after sunset, when the sun is below the horizon and a soft glowing light emanates from the sky.  They were to put some of the animal’s blood on the sides and tops of the door frames where they were going to eat the meal.

In the Hebrew alphabet, the eighth letter is chet חand represents the number 8 and ‘new beginnings.‘   The word ‘life’ or chaim also comes from chet and means ‘life.’  The manner in which the blood was placed around the door sides and top formed the letter chet for a new beginning of life.

ח

“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people 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 12:12-13).

As the Israelites remained in their homes, the blood on their doorposts would be a sign for God, the Destroyer.  When He saw the sign of the blood, He would ‘pass over’ the firstborn sons who were in the home protected by blood while allowing the firstborn of Egypt to die.   

“This is how you are to eat it [the meal]: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover” (Exodus 12:11).

The Passover meal consisted of roasted lamb, bread without leaven, and bitter herbs.  The Israelites were not to break the bones of the lamb or take any of the meal outside of their homes.  They were to eat it in haste.

“At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well.  Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead” (Exodus 12:29-30).

Lasting Ordinance

“And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then 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” (Exodus 12:27). 

Passover was to be celebrated forever throughout all the generations of the Israelites no matter where they lived.  There were also specific regulations regarding the Passover.  No foreigner, slave or traveler was to eat the meal unless they were circumcised.  Once circumcised,  they would be considered a citizen of Israel and could take part in the meal.   The meal was always to be eaten in the house and no meat was to be taken outside.  The bones of the Passover lamb were never to be broken.

In Joshua chapter 5, there is the account of the Israelites celebrating Passover in Gilgal after taking flint knives and circumcising all the men who had come out of the wilderness.  In 2 Kings 23, Josiah destroys all the high places and idols in Israel and the nation celebrates Passover in Jerusalem for the first time since the days of the Judges.  In Ezra chapter 6, when the Israelites returned from captivity, all who renounced the pagan practices of the nations celebrated the Passover.  Ezekiel 45 speaks about Passover being celebrated in the Millennial Kingdom by putting blood on the door-frames of the Temple, on the four corners of the Altar’s ledge and on the supports of the gate of the Inner Courtyard.   

The ‘appointed time’ of Messiah

“He [Yeshua] replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My ‘appointed time’ is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house’” (Matthew 26:18).

The ‘appointed time’ of Passover was celebrated by Yeshua with his disciples.  Using two cups of wine and unleavened bread from the traditional Passover memorial called a seder, he began to renew the marriage covenant given to Israel at Mount Sinai (Luke 22).   However, in order to institute the new covenant, there had to be the shedding of blood.  His blood. 

Another cup of wine, a third cup, was also poured at a traditional seder to remember the plague judgments on Egypt with the final one being the death of the firstborn.   Yeshua didn’t mention this cup of wine at his seder probably because he knew the plague of  death was coming for him as the Lamb of God.  Even though he prayed earnestly for his Father to allow the cup of death to ‘pass over’ him, he knew he had to go forth with his Father’s plan.  There would be no lamb’s blood on the doorposts of any house to protect his life.  His blood was going to be poured out. 

“They are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to me. I have taken them as my own in place of the firstborn …” (Numbers 8:16).

Isaac, the beloved firstborn son of Abraham, had experienced the ‘passover’ when the blood of a ram saved him from death.  This ‘binding of Isaac’ became the vision of redemption for God’s people.  When God allowed the firstborn the sons of Israel to live through the plague of death with the substitute sacrifice, He again revealed His plan of salvation through a lamb.   When Yeshua hung on the cross, he cried out, “It is finished.”  With those words he died. The beginning of the salvation of Israel and the world began with the substitute sacrifice of the Lamb of God. 

“For Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival …” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

If you are interested in celebrating the Passover, use our Passover Haggadah Booklet.

©2000 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.  For a hard copy of this blog post,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.  

Passover: A Betrothal Ceremony

Yeshua and the Passover

“And he [Yeshua] said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:15).

Yeshua longed to celebrate his final Passover in this world with his disciples.  He knew his time was short and he wanted to reveal God’s plan of reconciliation at its ‘appointed time.’  As the Lamb of God, he offered salvation to his brothers and sisters who were enslaved by sin and the consequences of their rebelliousness.  As the Son of God, he would transform the Passover seder’s traditional elements into a betrothal ceremony with a groom, a bride, a cup of wine, the bride’s father, the bride price, wedding preparations, and wedding guests.  With this Passover seder, Yeshua would institute the renewed covenant of marriage that would restore Israel to her Husband.

The Groom

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.  Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by Yahweh, smitten by him, and afflicted”  (Isaiah 53:2-5).

The groom is Yeshua himself.  Scripture describes him as having no beauty or majesty. He was not handsome like King David.  He had no desirable outward appearance and was so unattractive that men hid their faces from him, yet he desired a Bride.

The Bride

In a traditional Jewish betrothal ceremony, the hopeful groom would offer the potential bride a cup of wine as his proposal for marriage.  He would drink from the cup first and then offer it to her. If she accepted the proposal, the woman would drink from the cup of wine.  By sharing the cup with the man, she agreed to be ‘set apart’ as his bride.   She would remain faithful to him until the day of their wedding when their marriage would be consummated.  A week-long wedding feast would follow with friends and family. 

“After taking the cup [of Sanctification], he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you.  For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes’” (Luke 22:14-16).

In the Passover seder, the first cup of wine is called the  “Cup of Sanctification.”  After blessing the cup, Yeshua offered the cup of wine to his disciples.  As each one drank from the cup, they were acknowledging their acceptance of Yeshua’s marriage proposal.  It became an individual commitment they each one was going to become Yeshua’s sanctified, holy, and set apart Bride.

Once the Cup of Sanctification had been shared, the bridegroom would not drink the fruit of the vine until the day of the wedding feast.  The bride, however, was to remember her betrothed and the marriage covenant, every time she drank from the cup. 

“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

The Bride’s Father

“If God were your Father, you would love me, for I [Yeshua] came from God and now am here.   Why is my language not clear to you?  Because you are unable to hear what I say.   You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.  He was a murderer from the beginning…” (John 8:44-6).

After the bride accepts the groom’s proposal, the bride’s father sets the bride price.   Generally it was something of value because the father was losing a daughter.   In Israel’s case (and ours) before we are redeemed, our father is the devil and murder is his specialty.  He would rather have Israel destroyed than to have her redeemed.  He would rather see us die in our sins than be restored to eternal life.  Our father, the Adversary, required the highest price that could be paid to take us from him.  He required  that our Betrothed die for us.  He required that he be beaten, bruised and killed.  He required that he shed his blood. 

The Bride Price Paid

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup (of Redemption), saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:19).

Then Yeshua poured a second cup of wine.  In the traditional Passover seder, this cup is called the “Cup of Redemption.”  Along with some unleavened bread, he held up the cup and made a powerful declaration.  For us, his Bride, he would willingly pay the required bride price.

“… He humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 3:10).

Another cup of wine, a third cup called ‘The Cup of Plagues” was poured to remember the judgments on Egypt with the final one being the death of the firstborn.  Because God allowed the firstborn of Israel to live, they had to redeem or ‘buy back’  their firstborn sons with the sacrifice of a lamb.  Now, the Lamb of God was going to ‘buy back’ God’s firstborn son,  Israel (Exodus 4:22).   Yeshua did not pour this cup with his disciples in the upper room, instead he wrestled with it as he prayed to his Father on the Mount of Olives and sweat great drops of blood. 

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:42-44).

A fourth cup of wine called “The Cup of Completion” was not consumed during the Passover in Yeshua’s time.   Instead, it was consumed at the close of the following day to complete the Passover.  Yeshua drank this soured cup of wine while he was hanging on the cross.  With the words, “It is finished,” he completed the Passover  memorial, gave up his spirit, and died.   The bride price had been paid in full.

“Knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Yeshua said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Yeshua’s lips. When he had received the drink, Yeshua said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 18:28-30).

The Groom’s Preparation

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2,3).

After sealing the marriage covenant, the bridegroom would leave for a time to prepare a home for his bride. In Middle Eastern culture, he would add a room onto his father’s house.  The addition could take anywhere from two days to two years.   Before Yeshua dies, resurrects and ascends to his Father, he tells his newly betrothed Bride, that he was going to prepare a place in his Father’s house, the coming Millennial Temple in Jerusalem.  He promised to return for them so that they could be where he would be.

The Bride’s Preparation

“Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness or sanctification out of reverence for the Lord” (2 Corinthians 7:1).

The bride, now bought with a bride price, would spend her time preparing herself for her wedding day (1 Corinthians 6:20).  It would arrive at an unknown day and hour so she always had to be ready.   Waiting as a wise virgin, she would light an oil lamp in her window just in case her bridegroom arrived during the night.  She had known of other brides being swept away sometime near midnight and she wanted to be ready when she heard:

‘Here’s the bridegroom!  Come out to meet him’!’  … The virgins who are ready went in with him to the wedding banquet.  And the door was shut” (Matthew 25:6,10).

In Greek, ‘sanctification’ is hagiasmos and means ‘to be set apart for a holy purpose.’  Sanctification is the process by which a person is incorporated more fully into the physical and spiritual reality of Messiah, being made more like him and doing the will of his Father. Being ‘set apart for a holy purpose’ is more than just drinking a small glass of wine and eating a dissolving wafer or piece of bread every other week. Sanctification is the course of life consistent with those who are separated out of the world as the Bride of Messiah.

Sanctification comes through Yeshua: ”For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified” (John 17:19).  Sanctification  comes through studying the Scriptures: “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17) . Sanctification comes through the power of the Holy Spirit: “Who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit …” (1 Peter 1:2).

Sanctification must be pursued by the Bride earnestly and unswervingly.  The Bride will make every effort to be holy for without holiness no one will see Yeshua (Hebrews 12:14).   The Bride of Messiah will “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him” when Yeshua comes (2 Peter 3:1-4). 

The sanctified, holy character of the Bride is not transferred from one person to another.    This is the meaning of Yeshua’s Parable of the 10 Virgins.   Those Virgins who had oil in their lamps could not give it away.  Oil is bought at the cost of “keeping oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).   The Bride of Messiah will be ready with   oil and her lamp lit when her Bridegroom arrives at an unknown hour (Matthew 25).  She will have kept herself spotless, pure and holy.  She will have made herself ready for her wedding day. 

The Father of the Groom

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God…”(1 Thessalonians 4:16).

The father of the groom determined the time that his son would return for his bride.  The groom could only return for his bride when the addition to the house was complete.  This was so that the groom wouldn’t rush, but properly prepare a home for the arrival is his bride.

Neither the groom nor the bride knew the exact day or the hour of their wedding, but it would arrive with the fanfare of the groom’s best friends and the excited wedding party. There would be lots of noise and shouting.  The excited bridegroom would then enter the bride’s home and ‘snatch her away.’  Together they would return to the groom’s father’s house and enter the wedding chamber where they would consummate their marriage.  A week later they would reappear and the wedding feast would begin.

On a day and hour unknown, at the ‘appointed time’ of his Father, Yeshua will be coming back for his Bride.  He will arrive with a great shout, a trumpet blast and his Bride will rise to meet him in the air.  They will go to the bridal chamber where they will consummate their marriage and then celebrate the grandest of all wedding feasts.

The Wedding Guests

“Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding banquet of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God” (Revelation 19:9).

Only a select few consisting of bridesmaids, groomsmen along with parents and immediate family members attend a wedding rehearsal dinner with the bride and groom.  The friends and relatives  of the bride and groom make up the enormous guest list.

Yeshua is speaking about his own wedding feast when he says it will occur in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 8:10-12, Luke 13:28-30).   The Kingdom of Heaven is not some remote corner of  the sky hidden above the clouds. The Kingdom of Heaven, according to Yeshua, is here on earth and will be restored here on earth.  He will return here for his Bride, have the ultimate wedding feast [Passover] and then take his Bride to his Father’s house [the Temple] and within its many rooms they will live as High Priest and royal priesthood.  

Yeshua describes the guests that will be at wedding feast of the Lamb in different parables. He says that many will come from the east and west and take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.  And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9-10).

In Revelation, there is a multitude of people wearing white robes washed in the blood of the Lamb.   They hold palm branches and cry out Hosanna just as those who accompanied Yeshua into Jerusalem.  This is an enormous group of people from every generation who acce[ted Yeshua’s bride price and Cup of Redemption. They are from every nation, tribe, and language.  They are overjoyed at being redeemed and sing at the throne of Yeshua. These men, women, and children are the invited  guests at the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Yeshua also says that not everyone invited to the wedding feast will attend.  Some make excuses like having just bought property or a cow (Luke 14).  Others will excuse themselves because a ‘Jewish‘   feast isn’t for them.  Some guests who thought they were important will find out they are not: ‘the first shall be last and the last shall be first’ (Matthew 20:6).  Other guests will be ‘thrown out of the kingdom into outer darkness’ for not following protocol and putting on the proper wedding clothes (Matthew 22:11).

The Wedding of the Lamb

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him for the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.  Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints)” (Revelation 19:8).

The wedding of the Lamb will take place in the Kingdom of God. The wedding hall will be filled with guests too numerous to count.  The Bride’s sanctified way of life will be rewarded with a gown of fine linen, bright and clean, for her to wear in front of all the wedding guests.  The Bridegroom will once again drink the fruit of the vine with his Bride.

Until her glorious wedding day, the wise Virgin will spend her life  preparing herself with acts of righteousness.  She will keep herself pure and holy and unspotted from the world through personal sanctification.  She will keep her lamp full of oil waiting for the soon return of her Bridegroom at his ‘appointed time.’  Every year as she  commemorates the Passover, she has an annual reminder of her Beloved’s words to her while he is in his Father’s house preparing a place for them to live: “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:23-24).

© 2000 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.   For a hard copy of this blog post,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.