INTRO AND THE FEAST OF PASSOVER
We commence a new series I have indicated in recent times. This series is not well sought one but it holds beautiful thoughts on the full redemptive work of the Lord Jesus. Their significance is outstanding and its prophetic message is one that will the church to understand the agenda of the kingdom of God here on earth.
These feasts are not the like the holidays that we observe when we decide to rest from official work. These Jewish feasts was pronounced by God to be part of Israel’s calendar. They are seven and we can find a proper reference to the book of Leviticus 23. There they are listed in chronological sequence.
These seven holidays are called “The Feasts of Yahweh.”
2. Unleavened Bread
3. First Fruits
6. Day of Atonement
7. Feast of Tabernacles
For the purpose of our study let’s start with Leviticus 23:1-6
“The Lord spoke again to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these:
3 ‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings.
4 ‘These are the appointed times of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them. 5 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month [a]at twilight is the Lord’s Passover.”
Let’s look at certain words in the text. The words “appointed times” are from the Hebrew mow’ed, which means: “fixed times, to meet at a stated time.”
The word “holy convocations” is the Hebrew miqra, which means: “rehearsal.” This is quite interesting. The Lord decided to use the Feasts as appointed times of worship for Israel serving as “dress rehearsals” of the full scope of the finished work of Jesus. They were prophetic events that were to happen in the future of that first generation that received the law.
In these Feasts God was showing Israel His plans for the redemption of humanity and the restoration of all things in Jesus. They were pictures paralleled things that would be fulfilled in Jesus.
Also another phrase to note is, “You shall proclaim…”–this is from the Hebrew word, qara, it means: “to call out to those who are bidden.” As Israel rehearsed these Seven Feasts year after year, they were a calling out to those who were bidden. The Lord was calling out to them to trust the Messiah when he came.
When you look at these Seven Feasts indepth you will see how it presents the sequence, timing, and significance of the major events of the Lord’s redemptive journey with man. The feasts speaks of the work that began at Calvary, where Jesus gave Himself for the sins of the world as the perfect lamb (Passover), through to the consummation of the Messianic Kingdom that was posited at the Lord’s Second Coming.
Another thing to note is that the study of these feasts is a study in typology. This is method of biblical interpretation where certain things as contained in the old testament prefigure one in the new testament. A type is a shadow cast on the pages of the old testament of the person of Jesus which becomes revealed by the Spirit. In their time it was a prophetic picture of the good things that God purposed to bring to fruition in Christ.
Paul explains that the Feasts were types:
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day– things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Colossians 2:16-17 NASB
Colossians 2:17 clearly indicates that the Feasts are shadows to teach us about the Messianic work of Jesus. Each Feast is a prophetic picture of the Jesus. They give us understanding to see God’s prophetic calendar
One important thing I will like to notice from what Paul wrote in Colossians that the Feasts are a shadow of things to come. “To come” is from the Greek word mello. The Greek verb “mello” in the infinitive means: “to be about to”(see Thayer, Arndt & Gingrich, New Englishman’s Greek Concordance).
So, at the time of Paul’s writing of Colossians, the Feasts, all the Feasts, were all about to become shadows. The realities were “about to” come. If we miss it here then we fix a timeline that will not present the proper fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the kingdom.
It is generally taught that the first four Feasts were being fulfilled in Christ’s First Coming but we are still looking for the fulfillment of the Fall Feasts in our future. Paul in his time stated that all the Feasts were about to become shadows.
The author of Hebrews states:
“For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.” Hebrews 10:1 NASB
The Law was a shadow. The coming of Christ cast its shadow in the law. The purpose of the Law of Moses is to give us a foreshadowing, a pre-figurement, of the person and work of Christ. The old sacrifices were a shadow, never substance. The shadows can’t do the job. The law cannot pass away if certain elements are still to find fulfillment after its final demise.
So we kick off with the first feast the Feast of:
“These are the appointed times of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them. ‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD’S Passover.” Leviticus 23:4-5 NASB
This is the foundational Feast. The other six Feasts that follow are built upon it. It was celebrated in the spring of the year, on the 14th day of the Hebrew month, Nisan which falls into our March/April.
The first Passover was observed when Israel was about to be delivered from slavery in Egypt. Pharaoh had been refusing to release His people when The Lord sent Moses to him. In spite of a series of devastating plagues, Pharaoh was adamant. In preparation for the final and most terrible plague which was the death of every first-born, God gives Moses specific instructions for how the Israelites are to be saved.
Exodus 12 gives us the picture of the first Passover:
Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. Exodus 12:1-2 NASB
In the first verses of this chapter we see the significance of this Feast in that Yahweh changes the Hebraic calendar with its introduction. The month that God was referring to was the month of Nisan. The month of Nisan was initially the seventh month in the calendar but right in the middle of the year, God gives them a new beginning. This reveals how in the midst of our timeline Redemption stepped through the cross and gave humanity a new dispensation. Everything now counts from the cross.
“Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household. 4 ‘Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb. 5 ‘Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 ‘And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. 7 ‘Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 ‘And they shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 ‘Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. 10 ‘And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. 11 ‘Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste– it is the LORD’S Passover.” Exodus 12:3-11 NASB
Verse 3 tells us, “On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household.” Who is the antitype of the lamb? It is the Lord Jesus. The Apostle Paul sees this and points out to them that, “Christ, our Passover Lamb, was sacrificed for us.” (I Cor. 5:7).
When Jesus met John Baptist at the Jordan, he was introduced as the “Lamb of God”.
These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. 29 The next day he saw Yeshua coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:28-29 NASB
In this John is referring to the Passover Lamb. The Jews understood his message. This lamb would be he that would through death take away sin and the power of death. Those who put their faith in Him would be saved. This is beyond the bondage of Egypt, but from the bondage of sin and guilt and delivered into the Kingdom of God, one with life, joy, peace, righteousness and love.
Isaiah the Prophet also spoke of Israel’s Savior as a lamb:
All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. Isaiah 53:6-7 NASB
Isaiah 53 is a beautiful rendition of the work of Jesus, the Lamb of God.
Then it continues;
‘Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Exodus 12:5 NASB
The Israelites were required to bring a lamb is to unblemished. In the New Testament we see Christ identified as the unblemished Lamb:
“knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 NASB
Peter makes it very clear here that Christ is a spotless, unblemished Lamb. Only unblemished lamb can impute righteousness to man and this can only be fulfilled by Jesus. Paul also mentions Christ was sinless in 2 Corinthians 5:21 “Him who knew no sin…”
Now it gets more interesting in the following next verse:
‘And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. Exodus 12:6 NASB
Israel was commanded to take a lamb on the tenth day of Nisan and set it aside until the fourteenth day. These four days were fulfilled by Jesus during the Passover week. Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the Temple, which was the house of God, and went on public display there for four days, from Nisan 10 to Nisan 14. During this period Jesus was examined by many in fulfilling this Scripture. These include the chief priests and elders, Pilate, Herod and Annas the high priest.
And Pilate came out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.” John 19:4 NASB
Then see what is in the middle of Exodus 12:6 says:”The whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it.” Here we see that it is the responsibility of all Israel, indeed of all people, in the offering or the lamb and importantly the crucifixion of Christ. It was the sins of ALL OF US which crucified Him.
What time did this happen?
Mark tells us:
It was the third hour when they crucified Him. Mark 15:25 NASB
This is nine o’clock in the morning, the time of the morning sacrifice. Can you imagine that at the very same moment that they are binding the passover lamb to the horns of the altar on the temple mount, they were also binding Jesus to the cross. At this same time they are singing the Hallel, which is Psalms 113-118:
The LORD is God, and He has given us light; Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. Psalms 118:27 NASB
Though the text in Exodus 12 says that the lamb is to be killed “at twilight”–the literal Hebrew reads: “between the two evenings.” The lamb was to be killed “between the evenings.”
6 `And it hath become a charge to you, until the fourteenth day of this month, and the whole assembly of the company of Israel have slaughtered it between the evenings;” (Exodus 12:6) Youngs Literal Translation
The biblical day goes from evening to evening. The phrase, “between the evening” (from Exodus 12:6), refers to the period of the day that goes from noon to 6:00 p.m., which is exactly 3:00 p.m. This would be the ninth hour of the day, counting from 6:00 a.m.
Jesus died at the ninth hour of the day. This would be exactly 3:00 p.m.:
And about the ninth hour Yeshua cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?” Matthew 27:46 NASB
In the evening of the fourteenth of Nisan, at exactly 3:00 p.m., the Passover lamb was to be killed. Jesus, our Lamb, was crucified on the very same day, at the very same time as the Passover lamb: the 14th of Nisan at 3:00p.m. Coincidence? No. The lamb was the type and Jesus is the antitype. Unfortunately they busy giving God a lamb but they were oblivious of the fact that God had presented HIS own lamb.
Another interesting fact is that the ninth hour was also an hour of prayer. At this time they would sing the Hallel:
The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation. Psalms 118:14 NASB
The word for Salvation is “Yeshua or as we know it in english “Jesus”. He is the final Lamb slain for the sins of the world. The Father was all the while showing them but they could not see.
Now let me share with this wonderful discovery I learnt from research about what happens at the close of the Passover.
Usually thousands of lambs would be sacrificed on Passover, starting at around 9:00am. The shofar would sound to announce to the surrounding areas that the last lamb of about 250,000 which translates over 40,000 per hour had been slaughtered. This would be about 3:00pm, the night hour of the day.
The high priest who had closely inspected the lamb, satisfied that it was unblemished would say that it had no fault. The main lamb offering at the temple mount during Passover was made by the high priest after all the others had been made, about 3:00pm.
The High Priest in the Temple after slaughtering all the lambs on Passover would finally come to The Passover Lamb and would yell out in a loud voice “I thirst” and the High Priest would be given a drink. Then the High Priest would offer up The Passover Lamb. After slaying the Passover Lamb the High Priest would yell out “It is finished” and the sins of the people would be covered.
It was exactly 3:00pm when Jesus, our High Priest, gave up His Spirit and said His last words; “It is finished.”
Hmmn…. Glory to God. The work is done!
(To be continued)