Happy Passover! – Torah Portion – the One New Man Bible – Passover First Day – April 20, 2019

(Exodus 12:21-51)

12:21. Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Choose and take for yourselves a lamb according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. 22. And you will take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin, and none of you will go out of the door of his house until the morning. 23. For the LORD* will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when He sees the blood upon the lintel and on the two side posts, the LORD* will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to strike you. 24. And you will observe this thing for an ordinance for you and your sons forever. 25. And it will be, when you come to the land which the LORD* will give you, according as He has promised, that you will keep this service. 26. And it will be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 27. That you will say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s* Passover, Who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our houses.’” And the people bowed their heads and worshipped. 28. And the children of Israel went away and did so, as the LORD* had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.

Firstborn, Last of the Plagues

12:29. (10thAnd it was at midnight that the LORD* struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of animals. 30. And Pharaoh got up in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead. 31. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night and said, “Get up! Get out from among my people! Both you and the children of Israel, go! Serve the LORD*, as you have said. 32. Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone. And bless me also.” 33. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, so they would send them out of the land in haste, for they said, “We will all be dead men.” 34. And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading-troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. 35. And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses, and they asked from the Egyptians jewels of silver, jewels of gold, and clothes. 36. And the LORD* gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted their requests, such things as they required. And they emptied Egypt.

12:37. And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children. 38. And a mixed multitude also went up with them, and flocks and herds, very many cattle. 39. And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought out of Egypt, for it was not leavened because they were thrust out of Egypt and could not tarry, nor had they prepared any food for themselves.

12:40. Now the stay of the children of Israel who dwelled in Egypt was four hundred thirty years. 41. And it was at the end of the four hundred thirty years, even the selfsame day, it was that all the hosts of the LORD* went out from the land of Egypt. 42It is a night to be guarded, never forgotten, to the LORD* for bringing them out from the land of Egypt. This is that night of the LORD* to be observed by all the children of Israel in their generations.

Ordinance of the Passover

12:43. And the LORD* said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: No stranger will eat of it. 44. But every man’s servant that is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then he will eat of it. 45. A foreigner and a hired servant will not eat of it. 46. It will be eaten in one house, you will not carry out any of the flesh abroad out of the house, nor will you break a bone of it. (John 19:33) 47. All the congregation of Israel will keep it. 48. And when a stranger sojourns with you and keeps the Passover to the LORD*, let all his males be circumcised and then let him come near and keep it, and he will be as one that is born in the land, for no uncircumcised person will eat of it. 49. One Torah (Teaching) will be for the one that is home born and for the stranger who lives among you.” 50. So all the children of Israel did this, as the LORD* commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. 51. And it happened the selfsame day, the LORD* did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts. (Click to Source)

 

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A Memorial

For the Jewish people, Passover is a day of remembrance of the exodus from Egypt, but disciples of Yeshua have another important aspect of Passover to remember.

Portion Summary

The sixteenth reading from the Torah is named Beshalach(בשלח), which means “When he sent.” The title comes from the first verse of the reading, which can be literally translated to say, “And it happened when Pharaoh sent out the people.” This is also the Shabbat reading when Passover coincides with the weekly Shabbat. The reading tells the adventures of the Israelites as they leave Egypt, cross the Red Sea, receive miraculous provision in the wilderness and face their first battle.

Regular Shabbat Readings

  • Pesach (פסח | Passover)
  • Torah: Exodus 12:21-51
  • Haftarah: Joshua 3:5-7, 5:2-6:1, 6:27
  • Gospel: John 19:31-20:1

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • TORAH
    • Exodus 13:17 | The Pillars of Cloud and Fire
    • Exodus 14:1 | Crossing the Red Sea
    • Exodus 14:26 | The Pursuers Drowned
    • Exodus 15:1 | The Song of Moses
    • Exodus 15:20 | The Song of Miriam
    • Exodus 15:22 | Bitter Water Made Sweet
    • Exodus 16:1 | Bread from Heaven
    • Exodus 17:1 | Water from the Rock
    • Exodus 17:8 | Amalek Attacks Israel and Is Defeated
  • PROPHETS
    • Jdg 4:1 | Deborah and Barak
    • Jdg 5:1 | The Song of Deborah

Portion Summary

The sixteenth reading from the Torah is named Beshalach(בשלח), which means “When he sent.” The title comes from the first verse of the reading, which can be literally translated to say, “And it happened when Pharaoh sent out the people.” This is also the Shabbat reading when Passover coincides with the weekly Shabbat. The reading tells the adventures of the Israelites as they leave Egypt, cross the Red Sea, receive miraculous provision in the wilderness and face their first battle.


Fourteen hundred years after the exodus from Egypt, Yeshua went to Jerusalem with His disciples to keep the appointed time of Passover. He and His disciples had been to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover many times, but this time, as they neared Jerusalem, Yeshua said, “My time is near; I am to keep the Passover” (Matthew 26:18). He knew that He was going to fulfill the appointed time in a marvelous and unexpected way.

The Torah instructs the Jewish people to keep the first day of Passover as a “memorial” of the exodus from Egypt. It works as one of God’s reminders. God rescued Israel from Egypt and told the people to keep the festival as an appointed time and a remembrance of their salvation.

Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. (Exodus 12:14)

The Master kept the seder meal with His disciples in Jerusalem. He took the unleavened bread and the customary Passover cup and instructed His disciples to do so henceforth in remembrance of Him. On the day of the sacrifice, He became a spiritual sacrifice—Israel’s Passover lamb. At the appointed time for the Jewish people to sacrifice their Passover lambs in remembrance of the nation’s salvation from Egypt, Yeshua went to the cross.

When believers keep Passover, we have two things to remember. We remember the historic salvation from Egypt as the Torah commands us, but we also remember the salvation granted to us through the sacrifice of Yeshua. The two remembrances are not mutually exclusive. They naturally complement one another.

Every year we keep Passover in remembrance of Yeshua. Messiah Himself told us to do so: “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me’” (Luke 22:19). Did He have in mind only the breaking bread and a sip from the fruit of the vine? No. He spoke within the specific context of Passover. The commandment to do “this” in remembrance of Yeshua refers to the Passover Seder meal. It is not one cup but the traditional cups of Passover. It is not any bread; it is the unleavened matzah bread of Passover. What could be more appropriate for a disciple of Yeshua to do than to keep the festival of Passover in remembrance of Him, just as He told His disciples? (Click to Source)

The Feasts of the Lord – Leviticus 23

Leviticus 23:1-44

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.

Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.

These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.

In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord‘s passover.

And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.

In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.

But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:

11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.

12 And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the Lord.

13 And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the Lord for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.

14 And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:

16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord.

17 Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord.

18 And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the Lord, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the Lord.

19 Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings.

20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the Lord, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the Lord for the priest.

21 And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.

22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the Lord your God.

23 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.

25 Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord.

26 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord.

28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God.

29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.

30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.

31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

33 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

34 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord.

35 On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.

36 Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein.

37 These are the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day:

38 Beside the sabbaths of the Lord, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the Lord.

39 Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.

40 And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days.

41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.

42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:

43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

44 And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the Lord.

(Leviticus 23:1-44King James Version (KJV) Public Domain

The Blood of the Lamb Has Power

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)April 21, 2019

 

Jesus came as one blood sacrifice, and the blood of this Lamb has power. Power to cleanse, power to heal, and millions upon millions around the world have experienced the glory and the power of this cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.

We serve the living Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Ask the Holy Spirit to come and speak to your heart in that still, small voice. If you don’t know Christ, that’s what Easter is all about. I want you to take a step as the prodigal son did: he walked back to the father.

First of all, I want you to know that there’s no sin that anyone has ever committed that’s so horrible or so wicked that it can’t be forgiven. God doesn’t turn anybody down. Secondly, I ask you—once you’ve confessed your sins and believed in the cleansing power of Jesus Christ’s blood—don’t go back to them. Give them over, and don’t let the devil haunt you with them because those sins are under the blood of Christ.

Some of you live in condemnation. You live in fear. Believe that this lamb was slain for you, and your sin was laid on his shoulder. He carried your sin, and he paid the price for that, and there’s nothing you can do to work it through. So, right now, just lay it down. Then when these thoughts come back to hound you, say, “Jesus is my righteousness. Christ is my righteousness. Christ is my righteousness.”

When Satan comes and lies to you, when he tells you that you still have some devil in you or whatever he says. Right now, just say back: “Christ is my righteousness.”

Say it right now. “Christ is my righteousness.”

Glory be to God. He is our righteousness. We deserved hell, and he gave us heaven because we trust in him.

I want you to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart if you’ve drifted from him and want to come back to his love and grace on this Easter. The Bible says believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved. I believe that. I believe that with all my heart. (Click to Source)

When the Lamb of Passover Opens the Scroll

by: Gary Stearman on April 5, 2019

The first Passover is detailed in the twelfth chapter of Exodus. Its history goes back nearly 3,500 years, and its rituals are freighted with spiritual and prophetic meaning. It came on the fourteenth day of the first month – Nisan – and has been observed ever since. It features two primary aspects: First, it is referred to as “feasting for freedom.” It marks Israel’s liberation from Egypt, a type of the world system. Second, it is a prophecy, reenacted annually to preserve the hope that Israel will one day witness the establishment of the Kingdom in Israel, coming on a wave of fulfilled Bible prophecy. Each year, it concludes with a victory cry: “Next year in Jerusalem!”

But its centerpiece is perhaps the greatest archetype in Scripture: the lamb. The lamb, sacrificed and roasted in the fire during the night, foreshadows Jesus’ own arrest and illegal midnight trial, culminating in His sacrifice the next day. His function was the same as that first Passover lamb in Egypt, to bring liberation and redemption, first to Israel, then to the whole world. It represents “… the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).

It is introduced in the dramatic narrative of Exodus:
“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: 6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. 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. 8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 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. 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. 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 the LORD’S passover. (Ex. 12:5-11).

That momentous night, when the blood of the lamb was applied to the doorposts of Israel, another tradition was established. The lamb’s blood was commemorated in the fruit of the vine, and the four cups of Passover. Taken in order, they symbolize: 1. Sanctification 2. Liberation 3. Redemption 4. Completion.

The commemoration of Passover is structured around the consumption of these four cups of the fruit of the vine, which is itself a symbol of our Lord: John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Passover … feasting for freedom … liberation from Egypt … establishing the Kingdom … all of these are witnessed in “The Four Cups.”

“But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:29). This will be the final Cup: Completion.

The Lamb Steps Forward

One day, all the created beings in the heavens will watch as the Lamb of God steps forward to open a seven-sealed scroll. When He does, He will be acting as the Divine Judge, who takes in His hands a sealed indictment – that sealed scroll. What is written upon it no man knows. But it must certainly include a list of charges accrued across the ages by a depraved humanity. In the opening of its seals, the Lamb will right the wrongs of six millennia and establish peace and justice.

But why does Jesus appear in heaven as a lamb? In his work as Judge of the world, He would seem to be more accurately acting the part of the lion. And indeed, at His appearance, He is recognized by that title:
“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” (Rev. 5:5).

But when He actually receives the scroll, He appears as a Lamb, not a lion: “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth” (Rev. 5:6). The Lion of the tribe of Judah is one of the most ancient of all biblical figures, going all the way back to Jacob’s prophetic blessing of his sons. He said, “Judah is a lion’s whelp …” (Gen. 49:9). Why did the Lion become the Lamb? The Bible provides an answer to this question, in the process, giving us an inside look, not only at the true meaning of sacrifice but at God’s very nature.

The Lamb is not a mere figurehead… a stiff and lifeless symbol. He loves, feels pain, longs for a relationship and expresses Himself in emotional language. What must He be thinking as He comes forward to take that fateful scroll? Surprisingly, His motives and goals are not concealed. He has, in fact, gone out of His way to make sure that humanity knows the thoughts of His very heart in detail. A bit later, we shall examine some of them. First, however, let’s look at the historical figure of the Lamb.

The symbol of the sacrificial lamb goes back to the very beginning of humanity, in the recounting of the acceptable sacrifice. Apparently, after Adam’s fall, the Lord had instructed him about what constituted an acceptable sacrifice for sin. We know this because his son Abel brought the proper sacrifice, prepared in a specific way, as described in the following Scripture:

“1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. 2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering” 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell” (Gen. 4:1-5).

The rest of the story is well known, as Cain’s jealousy grew to violent anger that led to the murder of Abel. This event might well be described as the first war in history, with Abel being recorded as the first casualty. From that time to the present, mankind has been engaged in an unending war for supremacy, or for acceptance in the sphere of power. War is man’s primary institution.

Almost forgotten in the conflict between Cain and Abel is the lamb. Its role as the atoning sacrifice is central to humanity’s survival … a prophetic archetype that runs through the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Scripture progressively reveals the submissive lamb as the way to victory over sin and evil. In fact, the lamb represents the absolute opposite of taking power and possessions by force. It is the very emblem of selfless sacrifice.

At key points in biblical history, the lamb emerges again and again as the key to the Lord’s plan of redemption. The “sacrificial lamb” has become a universal cliché. But biblically, the lamb appears at historically significant moments, to certify the relationship between God and man.

It is next seen, for example, in the covenantal transaction between the Lord and Abraham on Mount Moriah:

“7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold there and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together” (Gen. 22:7,8).

In the heart of Abraham, the sacrifice had already been accomplished. Never did Abraham tell Isaac that he was to be the sacrifice. Rather, he told his beloved son that God would provide “a lamb.”

All this happened on the mountain known as “Moriah,” which means, “appearing of Jehovah.” Thus, the Bible recognizes this as the mountain where Jehovah appeared to Abraham, and would appear again in the days of David and Solomon. This is where the Temple would be built.

The sacrifice provided by the Lord was not merely a lamb, it was a ram, trapped by its horns in thick underbrush. Abraham took it and laid it upon the altar. To him, it must have seemed a greater and fuller sacrifice than a mere lamb. In fact, it was only a foreshadowing of the greater sacrifice to come.

From this scene on Mount Moriah, we leap forward half a millennium to about 1450 B.C., and the period of the Exodus. This wonderful event centers about the blood of the lamb, which is painted upon every Israelite doorpost. This crucial identification spared Israel from the visiting angel of death. He passed over their houses, instead, inflicting death upon Egyptian homes.

But on this night – the first Passover – the lamb is more than mere sacrifice. It becomes the symbol of relationship, the common experience of the Israelites, and remains so to this day. Let’s revisit the scene in which the flesh of the lamb was roasted and quickly eaten on the night of the fourteenth day of the first month:

“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: 6. And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. 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. 8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it” (Ex. 12:5-8).

From the first, Passover was a family institution, intended to bring Israel together around the promise of freedom in the Messianic Kingdom. To this day, its customs are annually repeated, but only the shank bone of the lamb is present on the Seder table. After the Romans razed the Temple, the sacrifice of the lamb abruptly came to a halt.

John Sees the Lamb

And of course, the reason for this is well known. The Lamb had offered Himself on that last Passover, taken with His disciples on the night of His arrest and trial. This act instituted the Lord’s Supper, in which the Lamb became the actual leader of the ancient tradition. But it must also be remembered that Jesus appeared at the beginning of His public ministry as the Lamb without blemish, just as He ended it as the Lamb sacrificed for sin.

His role is publicly announced by John the Baptist:

“26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. 29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:26-29).

Acting in the spirit of Elijah, John announced the appearance of the long-awaited Messiah. His public statement might have invoked many promises and historical references. But he didn’t. He simply introduced the Lamb. Priests and Levites had crossed the Jordan to question John. He denied being the great prophet promised by Moses. He also denied being either the Messiah or Elijah.

But truly, John was a prophet, who now prophesied the coming of the Messiah. He didn’t announce Jesus as King or prophet. Nor did he mention Jesus’ link to the royal tribe of Judah, dating back to the House of David. Instead, he simply called Him “the Lamb of God.”

Israel’s leaders had no way of mentally linking the Passover lamb to the Messiah. Even though the Old Testament symbol of the Lamb foreshadows Jesus’ finished work, the prophets had never referred to the coming Messiah as a lamb. The blood of the Lamb as a Messianic idea is clearly developed only in the New Testament.

Certainly, Isaiah referred to Him in this way, but never actually connected Him with the Passover or atonement:

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Is. 53:7).

So, John’s announcement of the Lamb brings a new dimension to the mission of the Messiah. He comes as the personification of the atoning sacrifice, as the remedy for the sin which has crippled the world. From the very beginning, the Bible recognizes Him in this role. Now, John announces it publicly. But of course, no one understands what he is saying.

John’s prophecy at the Jordan River continues, adding a further note about the identity of the Messiah. John was born six months before Jesus, a fact probably known to Jerusalem authorities, and certainly to a number of faithful Jews. Yet he declares that Jesus came before him, adding that the Lamb is confirmed by the Holy Spirit of God, and is the very Son of God:

“30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:30-34). This is the clearest possible statement of His divinity.

Jesus’ first disciples were drawn by John’s repeated statement that this was the Lamb of God. They were spiritually drawn to a great new idea, which they had no way of understanding: “35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! 36 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 37 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? 38 He saith unto them, Come and see. 39 They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother” (John 1:35-40).

What must these two have thought as they heard John’s ecstatic words? Was this really the Messiah? But John didn’t call Him that. He didn’t say, “Behold your Messiah!” In fact, he withheld the full truth. Instead of the office of the Messiah, he emphasized the role of the Messiah in redemption. John prophesied the mission that Jesus would perform, and the way that He would perform it, as the Passover sacrifice.

The two disciples mentioned here are identified in the context of John’s declaration. It is most interesting to see that they had no difficulty in connecting the concept of the Lamb with that of the Messiah:

“40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ” (John 1:40,41).

Doubtless, they didn’t fully understand the connection. In fact, Scripture tells us that when Jesus later told them that He must die and depart from them, they refused to accept the idea. He openly told them that He must “… be killed, and be raised again the third day” (Matt. 16:21). He sternly rebuked Peter, who resisted the simple truth that the Lamb must die to complete the sacrifice for sin.

But it must be remembered that for those alive at the time, Jesus’ mission was fraught with riddles.

Something Remarkable

In reviewing the biblical history of the Lamb, we find a surprising fact. The Old Testament often refers to the lamb of sacrifice. But in the New Testament, the sacrificial lamb is mentioned by name only four times outside the book of Revelation.

This title appears twice in the Gospel of John (both of which are quoted above). In these two cases, the word “Lamb” is capitalized. It is seen twice more after that, once in Acts 8:32, where Philip quotes from Isaiah 53:

“The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth.”

Again, we encounter it in 1 Peter 1:19, where Peter quotes from Exodus 12:5, naming the requirement for purity in the Passover lamb:

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Pet. 1:18,19).

In both of these cases, salvation is explained in the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb. Based upon the importance of this symbol, one would expect to see references to Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb mentioned over and over again. But they are completely absent from the epistles of Paul, James, John and Jude!

Furthermore, the letter to the Hebrews, devoted to explaining the superiority of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice to Jews still observing Temple worship, does not mention the Lamb at all! When speaking of Jesus, Hebrews typically refer to His sacrifice in statements like the following: “… but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place …” (Heb. 9:12). The Jews would have made an immediate connection with the idea of the Passover lamb, but His sacrifice is never detailed in this way.

Moreover, the first three Gospels never mention the Lamb by that name! Matthew, the Gospel that announces the King to Israel, is built around the theme of the presentation and rejection of the king.

Mark introduces Jesus as the servant. His style of factual immediacy presents the servant, who goes about His work with energy and total devotion. He is then rejected and suffers for those whom He has served.

And Luke documents Jesus’ role as Son of Man … human in every way, yet divinely incarnated. Luke emphasizes His compassion and His perfection as a human being. He is presented and rejected as the man who bore the sorrows of humanity. As one man to another, he entered the home of diminutive but wealthy Zacchaeus. Addressing this sinful tax collector at his own level, Jesus changed the way this man lived his life:

“8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:8-10).

As King, Servant and Son of Man, Jesus acts at the earthly level. While important, these roles do not address the spiritual and metaphysical truths that we see in John’s Gospel, which reveals Jesus as Deity.

It makes perfect sense, then, that since The Lamb is a spiritual sacrifice, transcending the boundaries of earth, and reaching all the way into heaven, John would introduce Him as the Lamb, “… which taketh away the sin of the world.”

The Lamb and the “Kosmos”

This phrase, from John 1:29, emphasizes the fact that the Lamb’s sacrifice reaches all the way into the heavens. The word “world” is from the Greek kosmos, which means, “the order and arrangement of the world system.” To the Greeks, this word included all that could be observed or inferred from observation. The same concept in the mind of the modern man would most probably be “universe.”

But to the student of the Bible, the New Testament concept of the kosmos includes even those things not seen. As the Apostle Paul put it in Ephesians 6:11,12:

“11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against esh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:11,12).

The above four levels of authority arrayed against Christians, all operate beyond the range of human vision. Yet they radically affect the daily lives of humankind. Therefore, they must be included in the definition of kosmos. The dimensions of this universe are much greater than most will admit, yet biblically, the invisible aspects of the world system are as important – if not more so – than the visible ones.

The “principalities” mentioned by Paul are called archons in the Greek language. They would be the superhuman beings generally called angels, whether faithful or fallen. But in Paul’s epistle, the reference is to the first level of evil power, including Satan, and his delegated powers. They are trans-dimensional, operating outside the natural realm of human beings, yet deeply influential in the circles of world nance, politics and religion.

The “powers” that Paul mentions are called exousia in New Testament Greek. These are delegated authorities operating beneath the first level of power just described. Yet they are still able to act on their own, even though subject to their superiors. Elsewhere, Paul describes them as powers at the angelic level. Like the first group, they are able to affect both the unseen world and our own physical world.

The third level of power – “… rulers of the darkness of this world …” – are called kosmokrators, in the original language of the New Testament. In the literature of the ancient Greeks, these are high-level rulers, on the order of an emperor, a world-lord. Yet they, too, operate outside the influence of human perception. In the well-known passage from the book of Daniel, the heavenly visitor who came to him was delayed in conflict with just such a ruler:

“12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia” (Dan. 10:12,13).

If, as we believe, it was the Lord, Himself who came to Daniel, he was forced to take a circuitous route in recognition of an existing world boundary of some sort. Apparently, the Lord allows many such zones of rule in the cosmos.

But we must also note that the phrase, “darkness of this world,” uses a different word for “world.” Here it is a translation of the Greek aion, denoting an age or period of time, probably corresponding to the period of Gentile rule that began with Nebuchadnezzar, and comes to an end under the reign of the antichrist.

Finally, Paul describes the lowest and most widespread of the trans-dimensional powers. He refers to them in general as “spiritual wickedness in high places.” A literal reading of the Greek text tells us that these are spiritual powers of evil in the heavens. They come and go on errands of mischief and malevolence, following the dictates of the evil powers above them. Their chief work is to corrupt the progress of the Gospel, and to destroy the unity and saving grace of the body of Christ.

The submission of the Lamb to the cause of redemption (His willingness to sacrifice Himself) was the mechanism that signaled the end of their system. From the moment of His sacrifice, their days were numbered.

To us, operating on the time scale of planet earth, the time from then until now seems very long, indeed. From the Lamb’s perspective, there is no doubt that the scale of perception is quite different. Cause and effect can only truly be viewed from His throne.

We can gain some idea of this viewpoint by recalling Jesus’ moment of temptation. Just prior to His public ministry, and following John’s baptism of the Lamb, Satan took Him to a place where the power and glory of the kosmos could be viewed in a single, sweeping view:

“8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matt. 4:8,9).

Here, the Lamb is offered the kosmos, in all its glory. For Jesus to have witnessed every single kingdom and the glory of each one, it must have been necessary for Him to see past, present and future in a single glance. Furthermore, there is no location within this Earthly dimension that affords a view of the world like the one described above. Christ’s atonement was intended to reach all the way into this evil realm.

If Satan and his subjects held this kind of power, it is easy to see that no ordinary challenge could defeat them. It was necessary for the Lord to prepare a stunning offensive, with a single stroke of power that cut through the entire universe (or universes).

In effect, the Lamb’s blood sacrifice turned Satan’s own devices against him. Once dominant among heavenly creatures, He boasted of wisdom and beauty as the primary fruit of existence. But he rejected holiness, as well as the worship of God, Creator and King. It was holiness … dedication to God’s will … personified in the blood of the Lamb that overthrew him.

The world system is doomed to crash into ruins as the Lamb’s work is finally sanctified in the formality of a heavenly protocol that was devised for a signal moment in history.

The Lamb and the Book

As earlier noted, outside the Book of Revelation, the Lamb is mentioned only four times in the entire New Testament. But it is astonishing to see that in the pages of Revelation, itself, the capitalized proper noun, “Lamb,” is used twenty- six times!

This serves to emphasize a basic truth. Though consummated upon earth, the true extent of the Lamb’s sacrifice can only be perceived at the heavenly level. This brings us back to the question that we posed at the beginning of this study: Why does Jesus appear in heaven as a lamb? This question goes to the heart of the action we observe when, in Revelation, we hear a formal question voiced by an angel, who almost seems to be acting in the role of legal counsel:

“1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. 6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne” (Rev. 5:1-7).

The question posed here by the “strong angel” is an unmistakable challenge that rings through the vaults and arches of heaven like a mighty blast. It is a call to attention, commanding every being in Creation to come to full attention. A monumental legal question like this one demands an answer.

Satan and his fallen ones must also hear the angel’s words. Surely, they hope that no one answers the call, since they must know that if the book is unsealed, it means certain doom for them.

The book is a scroll. John carefully describes its appearance. He sees it as covered with writing on both sides. Apparently, if completely unrolled, it would be full to capacity with a list of written charges. In other words, the charges against the world system are all-inclusive, absolute and comprehensive. The scroll is a legal indictment, without loopholes or escape clauses. It seems obvious that the charges were compiled by God, Himself.

But there is a catch … a legal requirement of the first magnitude. The inscribed charges must be executed by someone who is properly qualified. Hence the question: Who is worthy?

As the angel’s loud query echoed toward silence, John observed that no created being in all the heavens seemed capable of answering the call. Note that the question is heard “in heaven,” “in earth” and “under the earth.” In every dimension of Creation, the question rings forth. Archangels stand silent and angels watch, daring not to utter a single word. The rebellious followers of the Old Serpent, angels and demons wait trembling, as their fate hangs in the balance.

At this time, the church has already been caught up, even though the Tribulation period has not yet been initiated. So, the Lord’s own people must also be watching this unfolding drama from a heavenly point of view. Imagine their great curiosity, as the final act of the drama commences.

Those of the body of Christ who studied Scripture while on earth must certainly know in advance that the Lamb will come forth to take the scroll, but they dare not speak a word. They watch in respectful silence, awaiting the coming of the great Day of the Lord, in which the Righteous Judge will finally put down all wickedness and establish His Kingdom.

They remember the words He spoke to the Jewish leaders during His ministry on earth. After healing the paralyzed man who lay helpless at the pool called Bethesda, he instructed the man to pick up his bed and walk, a violation of carrying a burden on the Sabbath.

Rather than receiving Him as Messiah, the Pharisees charged Him with sinfully and willfully breaking the Law of Moses. He answered by declaring Himself equal with God the Father in power and authority. His resounding answer to them is a statement of absolute authority: “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22).

A Legal Technicality

As the words of the strong angel fall to silence, John is struck down with the realization that no one has answered. He must be asking himself if the kingdoms of evil will win yet another battle. He begins to think that no one can answer the call. Imagine how you would feel if you thought that Satan and his followers would get o absolutely free on a legal technicality. You would be devastated. Surely, you would think to yourself, someone must be able to effectively lodge criminal charges against the followers of Satan … once and for all. Yet no one seems qualified.

Doubtless, John is waiting for someone to unseal the book and read the charges that will allow the execution of the final judgment. Apparently, some time elapses at this point. John believes that no one is qualified to do the work of judgment. He weeps bitterly at the realization that Satan’s crimes may go unpunished.

He suffers greatly until he is comforted by one of the elders who comes to inform him that the Lion of Judah has overcome the world system … the sin that has ravaged the kosmos. His action has qualified Him to receive and open the scroll.

And then, in what must be one of the greatest and most dramatic entrances of all time, the Lamb comes forth to receive the scroll from God the Father. It is true, just as Jesus told those Pharisees all those years ago, that the Father has given all power of judgment to the Son.

Thanks to John the Baptist, Christians who are alive today to read the words of Revelation will be aware of something that many of the citizens of heaven will not know at that time. We know in advance that the Lamb has done His work and will, at the proper time, step forward to open the sealed scroll. Why? Because He submitted Himself to death and purchased the freedom of those oppressed by Satan’s evil regime. He is the only One who could ever have qualified for this critical mission.

The Lamb and Our Home

As the Lamb opens the scroll, the events of the Tribulation unfold in a series of unprecedented cataclysms. Israel is sealed in the power of the Spirit, only to be persecuted by the forces of the antichrist. Israel is forced to flee into the wilderness, then is rescued. The evil powers of the world, headed by the antichrist, are overthrown. Israel rises to receive the Kingdom. The King assumes His throne.

After the Lamb is introduced in the Revelation narrative, the Lamb is mentioned by name twenty- five more times before we arrive at the end of the book. It is not the purpose of this article to detail all His activities through the Tribulation. But we should always remember that Jesus will eternally carry the title, “Lamb.”

As we have seen, He rises up in the end times as Judge. But in the future era of the New Jerusalem, the Lamb is fully identified within the Godhead. In this context, it is exciting to contemplate our eternal home, which the Lamb promised to prepare for those who would follow Him.

In Revelation, His final appearances as Lamb are absolutely enthralling:

“22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Rev. 21:22,23).

Imagine the pure light that illuminates the New Jerusalem. His living radiance transcends anything that man has seen, or can ever imagine. God’s own city will become the source of all that is pure and all that is everlasting.

“1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life,which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him” (Rev. 22:1-3).

The Lord entered this world in Bethlehem as a being of flesh and blood, without spot or blemish. The in nite became nite. Before His arrival here, He had been many things, but never the Lamb! At that moment in time, the Lamb began to exist. The Lord took upon Himself a new identity, which He retains to this day.

He is the perfect model of eternal life. The little baby born among the shepherds was the perfect Lamb. Fragile, delicate and seemingly ephemeral, he defied death, inviting us to follow in His steps and bask in his glory … forever!

He entered the world not to partake of the Passover, but to become the Passover. At the moment of sacrifice, the Lamb leaped from the finite to the infinite. And He takes us with Him! (Click to Source)

Passover and Non-Jews: A Universal Exodus

If there are aspects of the Passover Seder from which all people can learn, how much more so is this true for believers in Messiah?

BY TOBY JANICKI

APR 5, 2019

“Where the heck is the matzah?” I mumbled to myself. I was at Whole Foods looking to buy some matzah for the upcoming Passover festival but couldn’t locate the Passover section.

I eventually had to ask one of the workers to help me find it. As we walked toward the Passover section he asked me, “Do you mind if I ask you a question? What is Passover? Customers keep talking about it and I have no idea what it is.” Before I answered his question, I tried to take a quick assessment in my mind of his background. Obviously, he was not Jewish, and I guessed he was not a Christian either. I proceeded to tell him about the festival and its symbolism in the most universal way possible while still centering on the biblical background of the exodus from Egypt.Passover, although a thoroughly Jewish festival, has meaning for non-Jews. Many peoples and cultures can identify with the themes of oppression under foreign powers, exile from a homeland, and the hope of liberation. Ellen Frankel, in an article entitled “The Power of Passover for Jews and Buddhists,” points out what Buddhists can learn from the Passover Seder. Like the Jewish people, many Buddhist people have been banished from their homeland and need to find hope in their current state of exile. At the end of the article she writes:

In so many places today, we have seen the struggles of people across the globe to move from oppression to freedom. While there is much work to be done, sometimes it is the stepping back and the sitting together with family and friends over a meal to recall our past, reclaim our deepest values and re-ignite the flame of hope that burns inside. This Passover provides an opportunity for Jews and non-Jews to come together in the spirit of hope and freedom.

In the days of the apostles there were many God-fearing Gentiles who celebrated Passover along with the Jewish people. Even rabbinic literature made room for non-Jews at a seder. In the Second Temple Era, Gentiles were not permitted to eat the actual Pesach sacrifice (Exodus 12:48), but they were allowed to eat unleavened bread and bitter herbs and participate in the rest of the meal. [1] Messianic luminary Rabbi Yechiel Lichtenstein interpreted Exodus 13 as even commanding the ger toshav, the non-Jewish resident alien who lived in Israel, to the prohibition of no leaven:

What about the verse (Exodus 13), “When He brings you…you shall eat matzah for seven days…and no leaven shall be seen in your borders in all the Land of Israel”? Therefore, the ger living in the land is forbidden to possess leaven so that no leaven will be found within the borders of Israel. Even though the ger was not in Egypt, why then is he obligated to this commandment of not possessing leaven, yet he is not obligated to the commandment of building or sitting in the sukkah (booth)? So that there shall be no leaven in the Land. [2]

Eusebius records an account that at the Passover feast in Jerusalem toward the end of the Second Temple Period “all the tribes, with the Gentiles also, are come together on account of the Passover.” [3] In the days of the Temple, Passover had a universal appeal.

Rabbi David Katz uses the imagery of Passover and matzah to esoterically illustrate the journey of every Gentile who leaves idolatry and joins himself to the worship of the One True God:

In and of itself, matzah is pashut, free from the addition of other elements. It contains nothing but flour and water, and is kneaded, rolled out, and baked. Conversely, leavened bread, i.e., chametz, in addition to flour and water, is combined with se’or, leavening, which attaches itself to every grain of flour, causing the dough to rise. As a result, the grains are not free, but under the influence of leavening. Similarly, when one is subjugated to a master, he has not attained freedom. And freedom is the ingredient through which Redemption (Geulah) was created. [4]

He goes on to say that the Gentile must free himself from the yoke of idolatry and into the freedom of the worship of the God of Israel. It is like his own personal exodus.

If there are aspects of the Passover Seder from which all people can learn, how much more so is this true for believers in Messiah? After all, our Master Yeshua chose the wine and the matzah of a Passover Seder to represent his body and blood. More than just learning about and celebrating the concept of freedom from oppression and exile, for disciples of Messiah, the seder celebrates Yeshua’s atoning death and resurrection while remaining firmly grounded and centered on God’s deliverance of the Jewish people from Egypt.

There is ample evidence that, for the earliest Gentile believers, the celebration of Passover was an important holiday celebrated by all believers in Messiah—both Jewish and Gentile. Paul wrote the book of 1 Corinthians to a predominately Gentile audience who attended both synagogue and weekly gatherings of believers. Additionally, the timing of the letter seems to have been sometime in early spring before the Passover season had begun. Many portions in the letter allude to Passover and seem to offer instructions for observing it properly with the right heart-attitude:

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:6-8)

Although the imagery to “celebrate the festival” is clearly metaphorical, it could be understood only by readers who were in fact literally celebrating Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread, complete with some level of abstention from leaven.

David Rudolph writes of the widespread practice of Gentile believers celebrating Passover in the second century:

It appears that almost all of the churches in Asia (where Paul devoted much of his ministry), as well as churches in Asia Minor, Cilicia, Syria, and Mesopotamia, observed Gentile Passover in accordance with the Jewish festival calendar, on the fourteenth day of the first month, the month of Nisan. Far from being a minor schismatic group, Christians who celebrated Gentile Passover on Nisan 14 stretched across a vast geographic region. Many of these Gentile Christians celebrated with Jews, and the similarity of their observance to Jewish Passover probably varied from community to community. [5]

When the Roman church sought to limit the celebration of Passover to the first Sunday after Passover, other Christians, especially those in Asia Minor, insisted on celebrating the festival according to the Jewish practice on the fourteenth of Nisan as they had always done. The venerable Bishop Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostle John, insisted that the Jewish observance of Passover had been transmitted to them through the apostles.[6] As the church at large began to adopt the Sunday practice instead, the Quartodecimans (“fourteeners,” those who observed the fourteenth of Nisan) separated into their own sect. They existed up until the fifth century.

In the Syriac Lectionary (fifth century CE), the week before Easter is called the Week of Unleavened Bread. [7] The Canons of Hippolytus (third to fifth century CE) instructs:

The week during which the Jews celebrated Passover must be observed by the Christian people with the greatest earnest, they must be careful to abstain from all eagerness. [8]

Although this text is not advocating Passover observance in the Torah sense per se, it does indicate that the early church retained traditions based upon Passover observances found in the Torah. It indicates that, at some earlier point, the church was indeed observing the actual Jewish feast.

This makes complete sense. Gentile believers have been brought near to the commonwealth of Israel. Although this does not make Gentile Christians into Jews, they share in the spiritual heritage of the nation of Israel. Paul tells the Gentiles in Galatia that they are now “sons of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7), and when addressing the mixed congregation in Corinth, he even refers to the Israelites who came out of Egypt as “our fathers” (1 Corinthians 10:1). [9] This indicates that the exodus from Egypt has become a part of the Gentile believer’s spiritual heritage. A member of the nations who joins himself or herself to Messiah retains a Gentile identity and yet shares in Israel’s connection to and celebration of redemptive history. In fact, Gentiles being drawn to the God of Israel is a significant and beautiful part of this grand plan of redemption as we long for the even greater exodus that will come in the Messianic Era (Jeremiah 16:14-15). Rabbi David Fohrman writes:

The Exodus, as it actually happened in history, did not accomplish everything it might have. There is work yet to do to complete its unrealized vision. The procession that departed Egypt was a shadow of what it might have been. It will be the destiny of Jew and Gentile to one day realize the promise of that journey as it should have taken place: to march side by side and join hands, proclaiming in unison the oneness of a Father they both share. [10] (Click to Source)

Endnotes:
  1. Mechilta De-Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on Exodus 12:45. Cf. b.Pesachim 92a.
  2. Rabbi Yechiel Tzvi Lichtenstein, Limudei Nevaim, On the Torah and Mitzvot, translated by Jordan Levy.
  3. Eusebius, History of the Church 2.23.4,10-18.
  4. Rabbi David Katz, The World of the Ger (Israel: Ger Gear, 2014), 36-37.
  5. David J. Rudolph, “The Celebration of Passover by Gentile Christians in the Patristic Period,” Verge 2:3 (2010): 4.
  6. “Quarterdecimanism,” The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church 1364-1365. See also J. Van Goudoever, Biblical Calendars (Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 1961), 155-163.
  7. Goudoever, 176-181. See also G. Rouwhorst, “Jewish Liturgical Traditions in Early Syriac Christianity,” Vigiliae Christianae 51, no. 1 (March 1997): 81-82.
  8. Goudoever, 178.
  9. Cf. 1 Clement 4.
  10. Rabbi David Fohrman, The Exodus You Almost Passed Over (United States of America: Aleph Beta Press, 2016), 260.

A MIRACLE HAPPENED IN THE SPRING

Nearly 4000 years ago, prophecy was partially fulfilled from the book of Exodus.

God Himself performed a miracle in the land of Egypt, freeing the children of Israel from 430 years of slavery.

He caused 10 plagues to fall on the land of Egypt and to proclaim that God is the only God over all the gods of Egypt.

10 plagues fell on the land of Egypt, but none fell on the children of Israel.

The greatest miracle  happened in the spring, and fell on the 14th day of Aviv.

A commandment is given by the Lord. You are to celebrate each year, as a permanent ordinance for all eternity.

A perfect lamb or goat one year old, without spot, wrinkle, or blemish, is to be killed at twilight on the 14th day of Aviv.

The lamb or goat is to be roasted, and eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.  Not one bone is to be broken.

Take the blood and put it on the door post of each house of the children of Israel, on the lintel and on the two sides of the door.

I will pass over each house that has the blood on the door post.

If I see no blood on the door post, I will take the life of the first born of man and cattle.

There is a wailing in the land of Egypt; Pharaoh’s first born and his servants have been taken.

The mixed multitude hurriedly leave Egypt, Israel and God fearing Egyptians obey the Lord.

As they exit Egypt, the only possessions they take are their animals, the clothes on their backs,valuables given to them by the Egyptians, and their kneading bowls with unleavened bread.

God instructs Israel to celebrate two other Holy Days in the Spring, with Passover, to show His Plan of Salvation for all the nations.

The 15th day of Aviv, called Unleavened Bread, you are to eat only bread with no leaven for 7 days.

The 17th day of Aviv, called First Fruits, you shall bring the first sheaf of the barley harvest to be waved before the Lord.

Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits were to be fulfilled at the first coming of Messiah.

1230 years after the Exodus, Jesus fulfilled the 3 Holy Days in fulfillment of the Bible.

Jesus, the Lamb of God, has His last Passover meal with His disciples at twilight of the 14th of Aviv, telling them what was going to happen to Him over the next 3 days.

Later that night, He was arrested, mocked, beaten, spit upon, and sentenced to death for being the Son of God – committing no sin.

His sentence of death was the Roman cross. This instrument of His death was foretold by the door post of Exodus – the lintel being the top of the door post and the two sides of the door .  Together, they create the sign of the cross.

He was bloodied, nailed in the hands and feet, and pierced in His side by a spear, but not one bone in His body was broken.

Jesus died at the exact time the Passover lamb was sacrificed in the Temple – at the 9th hour.

He was quickly taken off the cross, buried in a rich man’s tomb, just hours before the sun set, on the 14th of Aviv.

His body was covered with stripes.  His hands and feet, as well as His side, were pierced.  He died perfect and sinless.  This fulfillment happened on the 15th of Aviv – Unleavened Bread.

Jesus rose from the dead just as the sun had set, before the beginning of the 17th of Aviv, First Fruits.

He fulfilled this day by rising from the grave and conquering sin and death.  Jesus would become the first of many to be resurrected from the dead.

The resurrection of Jesus fulfilled the Holy Day of First Fruits.

He completed the Plan of Salvation by being the Lamb of God, perfect and spotless, who shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins.

Today, we have total forgiveness of our sins, which leads to the receiving of eternal life with Jesus.

This is the miracle that happened in the Spring!

by Bill Perkins

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The Disappearing Dinner Guest

When two disciples invite a mysterious stranger they met on the road to join them for the evening meal, they unwittingly invite the king to their table.


As the stranger discoursed on the scriptures, He opened the eyes of the two disciples. They saw the pieces falling into place. Surely their Master Yeshua had fulfilled the prophecies. Even His terrible, humiliating execution had been predicted long ago. How could they have failed to see it all before? Had He not often enough predicted that He must suffer in order to fulfill the scriptures? And now God had proven Himself faithful to His righteous Son and raised Him from the dead, as the scriptures indicated must happen.The miles to their destination passed quickly as the stranger continued to speak. The afternoon sun dipped toward the horizon. They came to the village where they were to stay that night. As they turned aside from the main road, the stranger feigned as if He meant to continue further on His way that day. Likewise, when He walked over the waves, “He came to them … and He intended to pass by them” (Mark 6:48). In both stories, the Master made it appear as if He was going further than the disciples. In the story on the lake, the disciples invited Him to join them in the boat. In the story of the road to Emmaus, the two disciples invited Him to stay the night with them in their lodging. Yeshua did not presume to invite Himself into the boat or to invite Himself to lodge with the men. He gave His disciples the opportunity to extend the invitation to Him. He does not force Himself into our lives or invite Himself over for dinner.

In keeping with biblical models of hospitality, the two disciples begged of the stranger, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over” (Luke 24:29). In this case, they were not merely fulfilling their obligation to show hospitality to strangers. The stranger had lit their hearts on fire, and they wanted to hear more from Him. They could not bear the thought of breaking off from Him.

The stranger agreed to stay with them, and the two disciples prepared a meal. Although they had already left Jerusalem, only two days of the festival of Passover had elapsed. They set matzah (unleavened bread) on the table and reclined with the stranger.

The stranger took the matzah bread in hand, lifted His eyes toward heaven according to His unique custom, and made the blessing, just as the disciples had heard Him often do. At every meal on every day that they had been with Him, they had heard Him chant the same words with the same intonations and seen Him make the same motions. They had seen that same beatific look of recognition in His eyes as He raised His gaze to the heavens above. Before the word “Amen” could even leave their lips, their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. The stranger took a piece of the matzah into His mouth and vanished from the table. They stood up and looked around, but they did not see him. (Click to Source)

 

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Torah Commentary – Sh’mini – The Eighth Day – Passover – Opportunities to … – SCRIPTURES FOR April 7, 2017

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Torah Commentary
There is a bit of confusion on whether the Torah this week is the end of Pesach or S’himini. Since we always aim to please you will find a commentary on both listed below.
Sh’mini
Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47
2 Samuel 6:1-19
Hebrews 8:1-6
The Eighth Day
With every passing day it seems I yearn more for a realm known as the eighth day. I see not only the wars and rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes, but I observe and experience for myself just how painful life can be on this side of the restoration of all things.
Recently I stood on the Temple Mount and saw Arab children playing soccer on the holiest site on earth. I did not feel animosity toward them, but rather to the one who is behind the demonic religion they are being taught to serve. On another day I looked out the bus window and saw the memorial to a Jew killed in Ariel just a few weeks ago. What was his crime? Being a Jew and breathing the air of Israel. I talked with friends in Israel who struggle with life and death on a daily basis. The yearning for His Eighth Day increased.
In recent days I have wept with my wife over the loss of our pet and wept for a daughter in law who lost her beloved senior dog just days later. I yearn for the Eighth Day.
This week’s Torah portion is titled Sh’mini or Eighth. It is speaking to us of a realm beyond our own. It is one which will only be revealed after the tribulation and a thousand year reign in which the written Torah will go forth from Jerusalem by none other than the Living Torah seated upon a throne. It is a time which none of us can really comprehend. Men such as Ezekiel, John and Rav Saul were given glimpses into this time. What did they think when the veil to the Eternal Kingdom was pulled back for them? Saul described the experience best in 1 Corinthians 2 when he said the eye has not seen, nor ear heard the things we have in store for us.
What do the shadows in this Torah portion teach us about that day? In Leviticus 9:4 we read HaShem will appear to us. I believe in that day it will not be the partial or veiled appearing such as Moshe saw, but we will see His fullness. What will be our response on that day? Look at Leviticus 9:24. The Hebrews shouted in amazement and fell on their faces. Will we do the same, but multiplied many times over? So much for the thought of casually walking up to “The Man Upstairs” to ask Him a few unanswered questions!
This Torah portion also contains two unique properties. In Leviticus 10:16 we find the middle of Torah and in 11:42 the center letter of Torah.  What does this teach us about the Eighth Day?
In 11:42 the center letter is a vav. The vav connects all things to all things as we see in the Tabernacle. The vav connected all items to make the Tabernacle echad, (one.) The vav is in the midst of the verse speaking of the detestable thing which crawls on the ground. Sounds like a serpent in a garden. Reminds me of the word spoken that he will be destroyed and all will be redeemed. Can we, draw from this the “Heart of Torah,” which is the heart of Yah, is about redemption?
The other verse, I mentioned, which is known as the middle of Torah is Leviticus 10:16. The words to the left and right in the Complete Jewish Bible are that Moshe “carefully investigated.” Hebrew would better translate that Moshe “searchingly searched.” With either translation the message becomes clear that those who searchingly search to carefully investigate will find the heart of redemption which is the Eighth Day, the day of the restoration of all things.
Allow me to sum this up as follows. There is an Eighth Day coming. There will be no one who simply stumbles into that realm. It is a time reserved for those who searchingly search for His heart, the heart of redemption. For now though it is only a realm which we can imagine, or can we really? It will be a moment in which even the breath in our bodies will explode with a shout. When we see the love, compassion, patience, grace and mercy in His eyes, we will fall on our faces as He is revealed to us in full. It will be in this moment that the trials, tribulations, tears and pain of this life will melt from our beings. All will be restored and we will again walk with Him in the cool of a garden evening breeze. I cannot even figure out what that means, but I know with every fiber of my being, I yearn for the day to come.
Passover
Deuteronomy 14:22 – 16:17
Numbers 28:19 – 25
Opportunities to …
I sat down at my computer yesterday and wrote a commentary for this week. After finishing I found that the readings I was using were not for this week, but rather for next week. At least this is what some schedules based on a few calendars have listed. I emailed a list of readings for the counting of the omer. Before I hit the send key I thought about how my readings and counting might not line up with some others who were following a different calendar. I added a note to the email requesting others to walk in respect of others who see things differently.
Even my own walk has been one of changes in understanding. I have set my dates by the Hillel calendar and by the sighting of the moon. I have looked at, prayed about and studied the reasoning of both as well as the ripened barley in Israel. Today, I have decided to use the Hillel calendar knowing full well that there are people who have unsubscribed from my newsletter because of my decision. Truth is that no matter which way I go I would have some who would unsubscribe. In the end I have to do what I feel is right for me and my family.
What do I do with those who disagree? Exactly what I said earlier, respect. It is as simple as this, I show respect. What is respect though? For many people respect is a temporary pause in the discussion so the person can have a bit more time to find that magical Scripture which is going to prove the other person wrong. Once found, the person attacks the other with both barrels blazing. If you do not agree with their viewpoint, the respect comes to a halt and separation begins. This is not the respect I am talking about. Respect to me is being able to discuss without the need to “win.” To agree to disagree.
This brings up a question. Why did HaShem allow these possibilities for different interpretation? Did He not know they were in His Word? Could He have made it so clear there would be no discussion? Maybe that word, discussion, is the clue. He not only allowed room for interpretation and discussion, He planned it. Why? To present us opportunities to either love each other through our differences or divide because of them. Which one have we as a whole been known for? I don’t need to provide the answer, do I?
We can boil it all down to a very basic thought. Differences in interpretation are designed into Scripture to give an opportunity to respect and love or divide and hate. There is, however, a complication to the equation. I only have control over one of the parties, me. I can show love and respect all I want, but if it is not given back we are not going anywhere. What do we do when love and respect is a one way street? Keep walking and find others who have the same motives as you and pray for those who are left behind in their “I am right” attitudes.
In John 13:35, Yeshua does not say people will know we are His by our pure doctrines, but rather by the love we show toward each other. What does it mean to walk in love toward each other? A friend of mine in Israel put it as best as I have ever heard. He said, “Love is not staring into each other’s eyes, but rather walking toward a common destination.” This says it all to me.
Whether you and I agree on every Scripture, doctrine, calendar or way of life, (I doubt that will happen) the questions is, “what is our common destination”? Is it His Kingdom being established soon and in our day? If that is the case, I can walk with you, if you can walk with me. When we get to the destination, to quote a pastor and teacher from years ago, J. Vernon McGee, “He will straighten you out…right after He straightens me out.”
Make a decision before you take another step, a decision to simply not take the bait of division. You stand your ground and know “In Whom you have believed.” Keep walking as if you do not have time for meaningless and futile arguments. Don’t allow yourself to be lead off the road by things which may in the end not matter. Show love and respect. You never know, maybe others are just waiting to see someone who will take the lead. In the end, you may take a moment, turn around and see a few people following. (Click to Source)
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