many Christians the rite of Passover is filed under “historical use only.” But
we might look at it differently. To do so, we must first make a philosophical distinction
which is out of favor today. As it has proven useful in the past, I must ask
you to bear with me.
distinction is this: there is a difference between what a thing is, and what
it is made of. Suppose I come to your house with my tools and totally
disassemble the family car. I lay the pieces out neatly on the ground and
announce that we now have complete understanding of this thing, the family
car. You might make a few points to the contrary, like the mission of that car
(to take you to work, for example); the mobility it gives you, and so on. A
car is more than the sum of its parts.
that same vein, we will see that Passover, far from being an empty ritual, is
very fruitful in explanation. In particular, we shall see:
as forming the nation of Israel, and thus a picture of the forming of the
as the start of the Exodus, which is a picture of the flight of the church
from sin to God.
showing us Christ, the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world.
reasons of space, we omit the copy of the Scripture. The lesson is based on
nation of Israel was started at the first Passover, with the sacrifice of the
lamb. The church has its deepest roots in the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. So
let us see what nation building we have here.
things I would put forward as common items which build community:
changed the calendar for the Jews; this is the start of it. Similarly,
the church reckons her dates around what was supposed to be the advent of
Christ (they missed by a few years).
welds a group together like common suffering; the Jews in Egypt and the
Christians suffering for Christ.
of all, the Jews have a common savior, Moses. The church has The Savior,
Jesus, the Christ.
are three ways we see the sacrifice of the lamb as binding the nation:
lamb is personal. It’s one per household, taken from your flocks.
Therefore it is a genuine sacrifice. The Lamb of God is personal too.
lambs are all killed at the same time, which is a common sacrifice; every
one of the Jews did it. This, in type, foreshadows the fact that there
would be one sacrifice for our sins (same time implies one sacrifice.)
blood is on the doorposts – or it’s not. There is no half way.
Similarly, either you accept the sacrifice of Christ – or not. It is by
his blood that we are saved.
common memorial builds a nation – think of the 4th of July in
America. Here are the similar points:
described as a feast! As the Jew “celebrates” Passover, the
Christian celebrates the memorial feast of Communion.
stranger is to eat it, only the circumcised. But if circumcised, a
non-Jew could eat Passover with the Jews. Baptism first, then Communion
open to all.
important: a formal effort is made to make sure your children understand
what this is about.
are at the beginning of the Exodus. We need to see this as the flight from
sin, through the desert of this world, coming home to the Promised Land.
is a picture of the Christian experience.
Christian is a sojourner – just as the Jew is to eat the Passover with his
sandals on, ready to march, staff in hand. This world is not my home, I’m
just passing through.
meal is “roasted with fire.” Perhaps this relates to the pillar of fire
in the desert, but we can certainly see in the fire the fires of hell.
That’s what our Sacrifice went through for us.
for those left behind? Judgment!
through the Passover we encounter the idea that the meal, and its participants,
must be sinless. One common symbol of this is the unleavened bread.
Symbolically, leaven represents sin, and the Jew is to be without it for seven
days (seven, the number of completeness). As the Jew is to throw out the
leaven, so the Christian is to come to Communion only after examining himself.
strangely, makes its mark here. Hyssop was used to sprinkle the blood; it
became therefore a symbol of cleansing from sin.
Hyssop was used to provide Christ with his last drink – sour wine (vinegar).
cannot just leave and wander in the desert all this time, right? Well, yes
they did. But they didn’t start out with that in mind. They had a
destination: The Promised Land. We may see the Christian equivalent in two
can equate it with heaven, or
can equate it with the new heaven and earth to come.
way, I like the picture.
course, we must note that they left after they had “spoiled the Egyptians.”
There is a great truth in this. In this time it would be normal for the
conquering king to despoil the inhabitants of his conquest. But do you see the
parallel here? The riches of a Christian are indeed great. They become great
when you leave your life of sin (Egypt) and head for the Promised Land.
the Lamb of God
greatest parallel vision of Passover is to see the Lamb of God.
already have seen much on this, but may I point out the selection of the lamb
was, like the lamb, unblemished – meaning, sinless. Even Pilate found Him
was sacrificed in the prime of life – not sinless like a newborn, sinless
as a grown man.
Lamb of God’s suffering is shown in Passover too.
was killed at twilight – after sunset, before dark.
as the Passover lamb was roasted whole, the wrath of God came upon him and
He became accursed for us.
not hard to see the Savior in the Passover lamb:
were to be no leftovers from the Passover lamb – because one Lamb of God
was all that was needed.
lamb was to be eaten the same night – just as the Scriptures teach us that
Christ saw no decay.
were no bones broken in the lamb – just as Christ died without His bones
the Old Testament points to Christ; God spent 1500 years drumming into the
heads of the Jewish people just what kind of Messiah they were to look for.
They were to know Him when they saw Him – and didn’t. Yet their rejection of
the Messiah meant the spread of the Gospel to the world; and when they accept
Him, will it not be the resurrection of the dead?