Today is the fifth day into the Jewish Passover, and I want to relate to you just how this important Festival did a work in my life, albeit, rather late in my adulthood. To me, in my very early years during the Depression, Pesach, the Hebrew for the Passover, was a celebration to look forward to. It came when winter, at least in England, has lost its grip, and the beauty of the spring at long last, came breaking forth into the vistas of colours, and the warmth of the sun brought with it a feeling of comfort, a euphoria, and expectation of new things.
Indeed, even though we were relatively poor, each Passover brought for me a new shirt or coat, a pair of shoes or socks; always something. It was customary. Even now I can hear the voice of my mother saying to my father, Leslie, the boy needs ... whatever. I was the firstborn. Nothing was too much if they could afford it. We could look forward to at least one bowl of chicken soup, with a few matza balls and an overcooked boiling chicken, and roast potatoes; each year identically the same.
But I must tell you that as a child, and not until my eyes were opened late into my adult years, I had no conception of the true significance concerning the Passover. It was just an ancient story of the times of our ancestors, and as the Haggadah, the tehilim puts it, and the deliverance from the bondage of a cruel pharaoh.’ The rest was ceremonial and ritualistic. But now, thanks to the GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel), for me and also for tens of thousands for other Jewish men and women, the brightness of a new beginning shines forth, and the darkness and the bondage to the ancient past is broken forever.
However, the voice of the LORD is still heard! And His Words are the same now as they were then on the first Passover.
And it shall be when your children say to you, ‘what do you mean by this service?’ that you shall say, ‘it is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD.’ (Exodus 12, verses 26 and 27). These were the words that pierced my heart like a bolt of lighting. It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD. I opened my Bible to the passage in Genesis 22, verses 7 and 8, when Isaac who was about to be sacrificed said to his father Abraham,
Look! The fire and the wood. But where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, ‘My son, GOD will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.’ I realized then that this was prophetic of He who was to come to our world to be a sacrifice; One who would redeem us of a certain death. That
Lamb of GOD who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1, verse 29).
Now for the first time I began to appreciate why the GOD of Israel instituted the sacrificial system for His ancient people, a means by which a substitute could be a relief to them from the burden of accumulative sin in their lives, even though at that time, it was a temporary relief. But as I searched deeper into the Hebrew Scriptures, it seemed that my heart cried out for the truth. And indeed, I found it in the Holy Word, in the old and new Covenants!
Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year, (Exodus 12, verse 5),
and on the fourteenth day of the month Nissan,
the first month of the year to you, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. (Exodus 12, verses 2 and 6).
And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And when he sees the blood which is on the lintel and the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. (Exodus 12: 22 and 23).
Has it ever occurred to you my dear Jewish brethren, why it is that no longer do we kill the passover lamb, but that the dead shank bone, a remote symbol of that first sacrifice, is still with us; a dry anachronism of an event unrepeatable? Yet the GOD of Israel commanded us to observe this thing as an
ordinance for you and your sons forever. (Exodus 12, verse 24). Question: Could it mean that today we do not have the covering of the blood of that holy lamb that GOD Himself provided, according to the reply Abraham gave to his son prophetically, or is it even a possibility that without it, we could expect atonement from the leaven of sin? For the Hebrew Bible tells us that
The life of the flesh is In the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for yourselves, for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. (Leviticus 17, verse 11). Without the shed blood as a sacrifice, atonement is not possible according to the Law, the Torah. A question surely today is: Whose shed blood is it that has been made an atonement for us, now that we have no sacrificial system?
As a follower of Messiah YESHUA, JESUS of Nazareth, I have come to believe that
He is the Lamb of GOD, sent into this world to be the unblemished sacrifice of all mankind, once and for all, laying down His life, being the first born among many brethren, that He might taste death in our place, that we might receive of His Life.(Romans 8, verse 29 and Hebrews 2, verse 9).
Brethren, let us meditate prayerfully upon the Words of ADONAI in the Torah and the Prophets. In Deuteronomy Chapter 18, verses 15 and 19 speaking to the children of Israel through Moses, He says,
The LORD your GOD will raise up for you a Prophet like Me, from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My Words which He speaks in My Name, I will require it of him. Evidently they neither listened to GOD nor Moses in that period of Biblical history and suffered the consequences of their disobedience.
And, says the LORD, if you will hear His voice,that is, Messiah’s,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion. (Psalm 95 verses 7 and 8). And the consequences are the same today as they were then.
They shall not enter My rest. (Verse 11). This warning applies to us, all of us. If we still will disregard His voice, whether we are Jew or Gentile. Every year at the Passover Seder we Messianic Believers gather together with our families and friends, Jewish and non-Jewish, in remembrance of that first Passover sacrificial Lamb, and the Passover when the last Lamb of GOD gave up His life willingly and shed His blood for the same purpose: that those who believe in Him by faith shall be delivered. Shalom.