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1 And Yahweh spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
"In the land of Egypt." The Passover preceded the Law. It was instituted while they were still in Egyptian bondage. It was in fact the very means of deliverance from that bondage. This is fitting. *
2 This month shall be unto you the beginning [chief] of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
Israel were about to begin their existence as a free and independent nation. The month of their redemption was therefore to be the first of their new calendar. **
"The beginning of months." This event is the foundation of their national existence: a completely new beginning as a chosen nation of royal priests. The word "beginning" is Rosh: chief or head. *
The passover - the FIRST of the Mosaic ordinances given
The only sacrifice still observed by the Jewish people.
10th day separate the unblemished lamb, 14th day kill it and eat.
10th day separate the unblemished lamb, 14th day kill it and eat.
3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the 10th day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
The Passover lamb was to be selected and separated unto God four days before it was offered. This may portray Christ's sacrifice four thousand years after the Woman's Seed was first symbolically designated in Eden as slayer of the Serpent seed and deliverer from the Serpent bondage.
It was on this tenth of Abib, exactly forty years later, that Joshua led Israel across the Jordan into the Promised Land. And it was on this same day, too, that Christ rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, and was acclaimed as King. Israel, all unknowingly, thus selected its Passover Lamb of deliverance. *
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
Christ must be absolutely perfect in character and conduct, never once yielding to the sinful motions of the flesh. This was the tremendous, agonizing, lifelong burden he bore in love for mankind.
Truly it was for himself also, as in God's Wisdom he was constituted one of them in order to save them, and he partook of all their needs, including deliverance from the body of death by a perfect sacrifice. But the motive of doing it for self would have been far too little and weak to supply the power for this mighty work. Only selfless love for mankind was strong enough for this highest and greatest accomplishment in the history of the human race.
We are not required to do the same, nor could we; but we are required to make a tremendous, lifelong effort in that direction, with the same motivation of love: and produce measurable "fruit."
God's arrangements are orderly in beautiful variety and distinctiveness. There is a distinct place each for male and female, and each excels in its own sphere. God has appointed the man as head, but the woman is uniquely blessed in being the Source of the Seed of deliverance, without the participation or intervention of the man.
Modern, fleshly notions--on this as on everything - are an ugly, barbaric, misguided reaction to man's wicked and cruel abuse of his position of headship. All the spiritual beauty God appointed is lost.
"Of the first year. "
It must be young. Christ was young, cut off in the midst of his years. Youth is ideally the time of freshness and strength and innocence and vigour. The redeemed Will "renew their youth." Age is weakness and decay.
"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth" (Ecc. 12: 1).
"Or from the goats."
This is interesting. At first glance, it doesn't seem to fit the type, but there must be a lesson in it. Really, it is the goat-element which requires the sacrifice, the putting to death. It was the goat-nature Christ overcame and nailed to the cross. The sheep-nature does not come naturally. We are all wild goats by nature, but we must learn to submit as sheep to the hand of the Shepherd. *
6 And ye shall keep it up until the 14th day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
"Ye shall keep it up."
The word means "guard carefully." Some versions render it "guard" or "safe-keeping." God's Own purpose in Christ is sure and safe, and He also requires very diligent care in man in relation to it. For four thousand years the glorious Lamb-purpose was safe and sure with God, Who changes not.
"Kill it in the evening.
"-of the fourteenth day. Literally, as margin: "between the two evenings." No one is sure just what this means. The Jews, and commentators generally, suggest it means between two parts of the evening, though they do not agree on where the evening is divided. This seems an awkward explanation: there's no hint in Scripture of one evening ever being called "two evenings."
The simplest explanation seems to be that of bro. Thomas (who comes up with many unique, yet clear and logical, explanations of puzzling passages). He suggests it simply meant sometime during the twenty-four hours of the fourteenth day, between the evening that began it and the one that ended it. (Jewish days begin in the evening, at sundown.) This, in the providence of God, enabled Christ to both partake of the Passover and be killed as the Passover lamb, all within the appointed time. *
7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
Jesus was the Lamb of the feast whom God had provided. Not a bone of him was broken. His blood was sprinkled, not upon the door-posts of houses, but upon the doors of believers' hearts by faith in the blood of sprinkling. None can eat his flesh, if they would, but those who are circumcised in heart; for to eat his flesh is to digest, and make a part of our mental selves, the truth concerning the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ.
This is the spiritual food upon which the believer's spiritual existence is sustained. As Yahweh's first born son was saved by the blood of the passover lamb in Egypt, so also is the believer in the kingdom saved by the blood of Christ; so that when the day of retribution comes, and the first born of all the nations, "who know not God and obey not the gospel," are destroyed, the angel of death will pass over him, and he shall not be harmed.
But while the passover has this spiritual signification, it also represents facts, or events, which will be made manifest in connection with Israel at the appearing of their king in glory.
This is evident, from the saying of Christ while partaking of the Passover with his apostles, the future sovereigns of the tribes. "With desire," said he,
"I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God;" and "I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come."
Elpis Israel 2.4.
This was covering or purifying or protecting blood...
Christ is the Doorway: but considered more in detail, he is the lintel; and the two separate components of the Multitudinous Christ - Jew and Gentile redeemed - are the two sideposts or pillars he unites into one doorway.
The lintel (Christ) is sprinkled with the sacrificial blood to deliver the firstborn (Christ). Truly we cannot always safely prove doctrines merely by types of themselves (though Paul by the Spirit is able to do this) - but the beauty and fitness of the type adds power and depth to the doctrine. *
8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
Night was the time of opportunity for partaking. Next morning would be too late, as there was to be none left available then. Clearly this is the present Gentile Egyptian night.
The Angel of Death struck the oppressor at midnight, and Pharaoh immediately arose and ordered Israel out. Too late then to fulfll what may have been neglected. It was similarly at midnight, we remember, that the sudden summons to the ten Virgins came to immediately "go out" to meet the arriving Bridegroom.
"With unleavened bread."
This is clearly the most important part of the entire ordinance. Some aspects are specified once; some two or three times. But from verse 8 to verse 20 the prohibition against leaven is repeated ten times, and several times later, too. And the penalty for violation is being "cut off from Israel," which is used elsewhere (as Ex. 31 :14) as synonymous with being "put to death." This is said of no other instruction here regarding this ordinance.
Paul, speaking of the Passover, tells us what the leaven means, and we see why the warning is so emphatic and oft-repeated. Leaven is "malice and wickedness" (1 Cor. 5:8). And unleavened bread he calls "sincerity and truth." Malice is any unkind or uncharitable feeling or intention toward others; and wickedness is anything displeasing to God.
Leaven, then, is sin, fleshliness, worldliness - anything contrary to God's will, or out of harmony with His holiness. Leaven refers to the state of the heart, and mind, and character, and intentions, and desires. "Sincerity and truth" is submitting wholeheartedly to the will of God in everything: utter singlemindedness. There is no other way.
"Eat it with bitter herbs." "We must through much tribulation enter the Kingdom." Tribulation comes mainly from faithfulness: from denying the flesh, and obeying the self-crucifying commands of the Gospel. It is largely the inner struggle against self: self-control and self-denial, as against the self-pleasing and self-indulgence. Very few of us in these days have much we could honestly call "tribulation" from without - from our external circumstances. If we think otherwise, consider Hebrews 11, and be humbled. *
9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.
Raw we can easily understand: both literally and figuratively. But why not "sodden" (boiled)? In all other sacrifices, it would appear from the incident of Eli's sons (1 Sam. 2:13-15) that the parts of the sacrifices to be eaten were required to be boiled and not roasted. Certainly at the consecration of Aaron (Lev. 8:31) and the purification of the Nazarite (Num. 6: 19) the requirement was boiling.
It would seem that the requirement of roasting in this one unique sacrifice of the Passover is related to the required cooking of it whole, and not separating the parts. The latter part of the verse emphasizes this. This is the same principle as that which required no bones to be broken (v. 46): it must be prepared and preserved as an unmaimed entity.
We see this literally fulfilled in Christ on the cross, and spiritually in that sacrificial and purifying fires of tribulation are not to maim and break up the Christ-Body, but to perfect and purify and unify it. *
10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.
All must be consumed. All must be absorbed and assimilated by the participants. The meaning and the lesson is quite obvious: we must wholly assimilate Christ our Passover before the morning dawns. He is the Word: we must absorb it all.
If, due to any uncontrollable circumstances, any were left, it must be burned. It could not be allowed to even begin to corrupt. Christ could not be allowed to see corruption. It was not fitting for the spotless Holy One of God. And when the New Day comes, nothing will remain of the mortal flesh of the Christ-Body: it will be consumed and transformed by the Spirit-fire. . *
11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is Yahweh's passover.
Four related requirements: they must eat - not in the normal relaxed way - but with loins girded as for energetic labour or travel; with shoes on, which Paul says is the "preparation" or readiness of the Gospel race (Eph. 6: 15); with staff in hand - a staff is a support, a protection from danger, something to lean on, a help to steadiness and sure-footedness on a rough way. The staff is the guidance and instruction and law of God-
"Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me" (Psa. 23:4).
And, lastly, "in haste" - no time to be wasted. How vitally important is this last item in the race for life! Time is our most precious commodity. It is very limited in supply, as we realize as we grow older. We are given just so much. When it is wasted, it is gone forever: it can never be regained. At the soon-coming judgment seat of Christ, we shall have to give account of how profitably we have used it. How urgent then is the apostle's exhortation of brotherly concern-
"Redeem the time, because the days are evil" (Eph.5:16). *
12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am Yahweh.
At full moon God would smite Egypt. **
Why firstborn of beasts? This verse says the judgments were against the gods of Egypt: to show their utter meaninglessness and powerlessness - those false non-existent deities to whom they attributed their power and performed their licentious abomination of worship; and in whose name they oppressed Israel.
We are all well aware from archeological reproductions that all the gods of Egypt were animals. Their idols were all animal headed. It was a vile. debased pantheon of fleshly abominations. The entire series of plagues were humiliating judgments on powerless beast-gods. but this final one was the climax. *
13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
Passover blood alone would secure God's hovering protection over each Israelite household and stay the hand of the avenging angel. **
The blood of the lamb applied in faith shielded them from the Angel of Death. *
14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to Yahweh throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.
The Passover was to be "a memorial for ever" in all their generations. It pointed forward to Christ. and was fulfilled in him. Since then, the memorial ordinance of Bread and Wine has taken its place. But the Jewish nation still keeps it, three thousand five hundred years after it was first ordained. Blindness, truly-but what a wonderful witness to the Truth! *
The passover must be restored before it can be eaten of by Christ and his apostles in the kingdom of God. This is one of the things to be re-established at "the restitution of all things;" and the law of its restoration is in the following words...: "In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover, a fast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten. And upon that day shall (Messiah) the Prince prepare for himself and for all the people, of the land a bullock for a sin offering" Ezek. 45:21-22).
....When Ezekiel's passover is observed at Jerusalem, Christ will be there, the apostles also, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, and many from the four winds of heaven -- all of them the first-born redeemed from the earth, saved by the sprinkled blood of the true paschal lamb of God, and who shall find themselves in Canaan as inheritors of its attributes; celebrating their own redemption, and the overthrow of all their enemies by the Lord Jesus at his revelation in flaming fire, attended by the angels of his power.
The bread and wine of "the Lord's Supper" are the remains of the passover, which are to be shared by the circumcised of heart and ears, until Christ comes in power and great glory.
I am informed by a Jew, that when they eat the passover they eat no lamb, but have a dry bone of one on a dish; and that all who celebrate take hold of the lip of the dish, and unitedly offer a petition. This is remarkable. They have slain the true lamb, which believers of the gospel feed upon; while only a dry bone remains to them, strikingly illustrative of themselves.
Faith in the Lamb of God supplies the absence of the lamb in the Lord's supper. The broken bread and poured out wine, memorialize His sacrifice for believers; and the testimony, "this do in remembrance of me until I come," keeps alive the hope of His appearing in the Kingdom of God. When hope becomes a reality, the supper will give place to the passover; for when Christ is come, the memorial of His coming ceases to be prophetic of the event.
Elpis Israel 2.4.
15. 7 days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
This is really a separate feast, though related and connected. The Passover was the fourteenth of Abib. The seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread was from the fifteenth to the twenty-first.
Seven is the full cycle: completeness of time. That is, leaven, or malice and wickedness, must be put away for ever. Not a trace of it may be found in the House for the whole period, or the offending soul is "cut off from the congregation ." We are dealing with very holy things.
In the natural type, it is a Jewish tradition - possibly in this case true - that it was seven days from the Passover till they crossed the Red Sea to freedom from Egyptian bondage, and that the unleavened dough they took with them lasted those seven days. *
16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
This is the first appearance of this word, and the first mention in the Bible of an assembly especially for religious worship: again very significant in connection with the Passover. The word (mikrah) means "called out," the same as ecclesia in the Greek.
No work was to be done for self. The days of holy convocation were completely devoted to the work of God - the first and last days, from beginning to end in symbol. This is a type of what God requires of us all our lives: nothing for self; all for the glory and service of God.
Nine times in the six verses from 15 to 20, the law and lesson of the leaven is solemnly repeated. This was very important. *
22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
Hyssop is a symbol of cleansing (and we bear in mind that all symbolic and typical cleansing points to and emphasizes the divine requirement of a real and actual cleansing of the heart and mind and life).
Hyssop was used in the cleansing of the leper (Lev. 14), and the preparation of the red-heifer Water of Purification (Num. 19). And David, after his great sin, prayed with strong crying and tears-
"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean"
(Psa. 51 :7). .
As hyssop is divinely introduced here in the first Passover, we find that in the same divine providence it appears in the last Passover upon Calvary, when a common, nameless Roman soldier - all unknowing of the part he played in the Play of the Ages, gave Christ vinegar upon hyssop (Jhn. 19:29), at the completion of his dreadful ordeal for mankind.
"None shall go out of the door of the house until morning. "
Another striking injunction with an obvious meaning. Only inside the blood-sprinkled door is safety and obedience. "Abide in me," Jesus exhorts in the beautiful parable of the Vine (Jhn. 15), and he makes it quite clear therein that it is tragically possible to not abide in him, even though we thoughtlessly think we are. To "abide in him" is to give the life to holiness and the love and service of God, as he commands. *
26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of Yahweh's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
This foundation ordinance and its meaning must be faithfully taught to their children, as must all the Law that followed (Deut. 11: 1 9). There are many indications in Scripture that children must be diligently and thoroughly taught God's law, and carefully drawn into association with the activities of the service of God at an early age-trained to take an intelligent interest; patiently and lovingly answered in all questions and enquiries, as one would so assiduously nurture the first hopeful buddings of a tender plant.
They are not to be brushed aside as unimportant, or allowed to loiter vacantly in an anteroom. They are the building-blocks of the future of the ecclesia of God; and the younger the training, the more deeply it is rooted, and the more thoroughly it transforms the fleshly mind. It is a tragedy in the Truth when parental neglect of these divine commands leads to a new generation drifting off into the world. It is a tremendous responsibility and lifelong obligation to bring living creatures into the world.
And clearly the ordinances, and all the activities of the assembly - and all the activities outside the assemblies - must be performed with joyful holiness and rigid consistency, so that the growing child will be impressed, and will ask with interest and desire, "What mean ye by this service?" (v. 26). Children are quickly disillusioned and turned off by a double standard of official and actual "righteousness." How many children have been turned from the Truth in sorrow or disgust by the unholiness and unChristlikeness of their elders! *
28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as Yahweh had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
They worshiped, and they were obedient. This is very important; it is an essential part of the picture-literally, typically, and antitypically. It is the key to all. *