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Passover

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The consistent message of the Bible from cover to cover is that Jesus came that we might have life and have it to the full (john 10:10). Now most of us know that this is the message of the NT, but some of us may not be convinced that this is the message of the Old Testament as well. It’s easy to read the OT and be confused—we see stories of Shepherds, battles, love affairs, poetry, proverbs, etc. And it’s easy upon a cursory reading to miss the fact that Jesus is the main point of the Old Testament as well as the New. The Old Testament is essentially God’s master plan to bring Jesus to earth at exactly the right time, and all of time before Jesus’ coming is really preparation and in anticipation of Jesus’ arrival. We know this because we see lots and lots of times when God predicts or foretells of Jesus’ coming. These predictions or fore-tellings take on many different forms, but two of the main forms are prophecy and types. Prophecy occurs in multiple places in the OT when God speaks through a person about a future event, and there are many places where God does speak about the coming messiah. Today we are going to focus on types—actually on a very specific type of Christ. A type of Christ is simply an event, that predicts, foreshadows, looks forward to the coming of Jesus, that helps us understand Jesus more.
Today we are going to be talking about , but focusing primarily on Passover. Passover was a type of Christ. It is an event that GOd used to tell people beforehand that Jesus was coming, what He would be like, and what He would accomplish.
Today we are going to be talking about , but focusing primarily on Passover. Passover was a type of Christ. It is an event that GOd used to tell people beforehand that Jesus was coming, what He would be like, and what He would accomplish.
To give you a roadmap of where we are going: We are going to do a quick recap of last week, and then a fly-by of this large chunk of scripture at 30,000 feet, and then we are going to focus in on Passover and what it means for you and me.
Thus far we have introduced the story of Moses, how God was raising him up as a leader of the Jewish people, how the Jews were enslaved in Egypt, how Moses killed an Egyptian, and then fled into the desert of Midian. After that, God appeared to him in an unburning bush, and commissioned him to go back to the land of Egypt and be God’s agent of deliverance for the people of Israel but also God’s agent of wrath on unbelieving and hard-hearted Egyptians. We last left off where Moses had announced to the elders of Israel that God had not forgotten about them, but that he was going to deliver them from the Egyptians, and the elders of the people bowed down and worshipped.
Now we turn to and I am going to summarize the story of through 11 until we get to Passover. Most of you guys know this story by heart, but it’s always good to go back and look at the text if you can, so I would encourage you all to do this.
After telling the elders of Israel that God hasn’t forgotten about them the Israelites are happy and they worship. But…before things can get easier, they get harder. And as we go along, we see, even from this point, the flip-flopping faith of the Israelites. At the first news of deliverance they fall down and worship, but then, when things get tough, they immediately disown Moses, and want nothing to do with him. So what happens? Moses goes into the presence of Pharaoh for the first time and announces the words of God to Pharaoh through Aaron—let my people go so that they may celebrate a feast to me in the desert.
Pharoah’s response is to reject Moses. He says: “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go?” Pharaoh rejects Moses requests, and ironically, so begins Pharaoh’s painful introduction to who yhwh is. He is about to learn firsthand who the “LORD” is that he has rejected.
Not only does Pharaoh reject Moses and Aaron, but he even makes things harder for the Israelites. He tells them that they not only have to make the bricks for the empire, under slave labor, but they have to go find the materials to make the bricks with. Of course, the people are crushed by this news, and they blame Moses and Aaron for this hardship which is the result of Moses and Aaron meddling. Moses is distraught—he turns to God and he says: O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me?
But God responds to Moses, and tells Him some very important things. He says: 2 God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the LORD. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. 6 Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. 7 I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD.’ ”
().
. (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
This is the context for really the rest of the book of Exodus. God is stating very clearly His plan to actively redeem and call out a people for Himself. This is very important—God’s plan for redeeming the world comes through redeeming Israel. How do we know this? Look back at —God calls Abraham into a covenant relationship with Himself, and He promises that He will bless the entire world through Abraham. God brings the context of this covenant back into play here. He specifically reminds Moses of just who He is, and why He is acting on behalf of Israel—why He is planning on redeeming the Israelite nation with his covenant in mind. And why does He want to bless Abraham, and Israel?
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” ().
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
God has somehow tied the redemption of the whole world to Israel’s redemption. And here we get our first clue about the future—God is saying that His plan is bless the entire world through Israel. God wants Israel to be the vessel through which He brings His redemption into the world. This is so crucial to understand. It’s something that the Israelites themselves often misunderstood. Many times throughout the history of Israel, the Jews forgot that they existed to be a vessel of God’s blessing. They began to think that they were God’s favorite, and that everyone else was inferior—almost that they could keep the blessings of God for themselves That is why the Jews were furious with Jesus when He spoke of God’s compassion for the Gentiles in . That’s when Jesus was preaching and he said There were lots of widows in Israel during the famine in Elijah’s day, but God sent Elijah to minister to gentile woman…
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
However, this was a wrong perspective. God wanted to bring the messiah from the nation of Israel.
If the Jews got this wrong, it’s certainly possible for us to get this wrong. We can look at Exodus as God simply trying to save His favorite people from slavery. We can look at Passover as simply a cool moment when God intervened to save people He loved. However, we would be missing the major point. It is no accident that God is specifically pointing to the covenant that he made with Abraham some 400-500 years earlier to bless all the nations. This is our first clue that God’s purpose was ultimately to bring the messiah, Jesus into the world to redeem the world. And God was preparing the way for the Messiah, even in the days of Moses. It’s the reason God called Abraham, it’s the reason God allowed the Israelites to become enslaved, and it’s the reason God was going to deliver Israel and create a nation for Himself that would one day lead to the Messiah—so that all the nations of the world—so that you and me—would be blessed.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
So now that we have the context of why God is going to deliver Israel. We move into the plagues.
I am not going to spend tons of time talking about the first 9 plagues, but I will just say a few quick things:
-God was using the plagues to demonstrate His power in several ways:
-space and time: God often limited the area and effect of the plagues to only occur in certain parts of Egypt but to not affect the land of Goshen. He also started and stopped the plagues at very exact moments, even allowing Pharaoh to request specific times when He would stop the plagues.
-nature: God had total control over the forces of nature to devastate Egypt.
-other Gods: The plagues were specifically designed to show God’s dominance over other Gods. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. (). The Egyptians had specific gods in charge of things like the rain, the crops, the river, etc. God was showing His superiority to those Gods by destroying the things that the Egyptian gods were supposed to protect.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
-Earthly kings and authority (specifically Pharaoh himself): In the same vein, Pharaohs were regarded as divine—the sons of the gods. By striking down Pharaoh’s firstborn and thwarting Pharaoh’s authority, God was showing that He was more powerful than the any earthly king, even a Pharaoh—who was the king of one of the greatest world powers at the time.
-Earthly kings and authority (specifically Pharaoh himself): In the same vein, Pharaohs were regarded as divine—the sons of the gods. By striking down Pharaoh’s firstborn and thwarting Pharaoh’s authority, God was showing that He was more powerful than the any earthly king, even a Pharaoh—who was the king of one of the greatest world powers of the time.
After 9 plagues, we see that Pharaoh still wont give in to God or to Moses, and is still hard-hearted, even though the Egyptians are literally begging Pharaoh to give in and let the Israelites go. So finally, God decides to unveil his power. He decides to let Pharaoh know just how powerful He is in the 10th plague—the death of the firstborn son.
This plague is different than any of the others. Let’s look at , to guide us in understanding the significance of this 10th plague:
3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a 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 this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.
7 “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. 10 And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you. 17 And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever. 18 In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. 19 For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land. 20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread.”
21 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall 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 on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. 24 You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. 25 And when you come to the land that the LORD will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. 26 And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 27 you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’ ”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Like we said before, God wanted to use Israel to bring the Messiah, and he was preparing the way for the messiah thousands of years before the messiah came. And as we said before, God was using the event of Passover as a type of Christ. Let me give an illustration of what I mean by a type. If I tell Joseph that we have won the lottery: that means nothing to him. But if I tell Joseph that we have been given enough money to buy all the hot wheels cars in the world, all of the sudden that makes sense. The hot-wheels cars are just a symbol—a meansA of understanding a deeper truth that is contextualized for his mind. It’s not like I would actually spend millions of dollars on hot wheels cars. However, this allows him to understand the significance of winning the lottery. The same thing is happening here. God was instituting passover as something that would happen every single year. It was the thing that marked the start of the Jewish year. It was the ceremony that initiated Jewish freedom from slavery. For centuries and generations after that, when Jews were exiled as slaves in another nation, or they were occupied by Roman rule, they would think about God’s deliverance during Passover. And Passover was the start of the sacrificial system. Prior to passover, the idea of atoning sacrifice did not exist for the Jews. They did not have in their minds the idea that blood could ward off judgement. However, Passover kicked off a system of sacrifice that became core to the Israelite way of life.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
How do we know that Passover is a symbol for Jesus? It’s possible to see things in scripture that aren’t there—it’s possible to make connections between things that weren’t really meant to be there. However, in this case we don’t need to conjecture. The New Testament clearly tells us: in .

6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 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. 8 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.

Now that we know that Passover IS directly connected to Jesus, I want to draw out some of the significance of Passover, and talk about what it means for you and me:
The barbarity the sacrifice: A year old lamb was required for Passover. This meant that all across the nation of Israel, cute fuzzy little lambs were being slaughtered. This seems so bizarre—so barbaric and cruel to most of us living in the 21st century. However, I would make the case that this was probably barbaric and cruel to the Israelites as well. Affection for animals is not just a 21st century phenomenon. As Alexander Strauch points out, for a people that had so many shepherds, descended from patriarchs who were shepherds, shepherds were big part of Israelite life. Shepherds usually had a love and an almost relationship with their sheep. Ancient Palestinian shepherds knew each of their sheep by name: they could call their sheep, and their individual sheep would come to them. (This is why Jesus later said, “my sheep know my voice.) God specifically told Moses that the Israelites were to keep their sheep for 14 days. As Tim Mackey points out—this was long enough to name the sheep, cuddle the sheep, and form an attachment to the sheep. Randy Alcorn points out that in , King David was presented with a story about a man who had a pet sheep, who “loved the sheep like a daughter,” and that David’s response wasn’t—ew that’s weird, it was anger at the man who took the sheep. The slaughter of innocent lambs was meant to show us something. It was meant to show us that absolute crime of what happened to Jesus on the cross. is one of the passages of the OT that the Jews specifically recognized was talking about the coming messiah. It says:
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth. ().
().
The agent of the sacrifice: However, the lamb that was slain wasn’t just a cute little lamb, but it was a lamb without blemish. It was a firstfruit offering—the best of the best. The lamb that was offered couldn’t have any physical defect. Furthermore, it seems the lamb was a first-born lamb. If we look ahead just a little to Chapter 13, it is in the context of talking about Passover that the Lord commands Moses to redeem the firstborn among the Israelites with a first-born lamb. As Watchman Nee points out, this seems to indicate that the Passover lamb was both unblemished and a Firstborn. These things were true of Jesus: He is Mary’s firstborn in a physical sense, but He is God’s one and only son (). And Peters says of Jesus
18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 1 peter 1:18:19
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Jesus really was the perfect sacrifice, the sinless lamb, the firstborn son. In this way,
The effect of the sacrifice:
It’s amazing to think about that God redeemed the Israelites first-born son by sacrificing His first-born son. The first-born son was the most important person in society of that time. Not only that, but he represented all of the hopes and enduring legacy of His father. To lose a first-born son, especially if it was your only son, was to lose your name in the world—it was to lose your legacy. This is why Abraham, when God tells him he will blessed says: “with what can you bless me, since I have no son?” It’s almost as if Abraham is saying: nothing you can give me matters unless I have a son. This is such a strong statement.
The Israelites were actually under the same judgement as the Egyptians. They would have died under God’s judgement, they would have lost their firstborn sons. They would have lost their legacy—their value and their hearts desire would have been crushed under judgement. But God, provides a sacrifice—a way by which judgement can be avoided. He provides a lambs blood to Israel—the blood of a pure firstborn lamb. This is the same thing He did with Abraham. Abraham was about to lose his firstborn son Isaac, and God provided a ram in the thicket. Here God takes the illustration a step further. He says you are under judgement—every one of you. You Israelites would fall under judgement just like the Egyptians if it weren’t for
As we look at the type we are talking about today, it’s important to ask—why is does it matter that God predicts the coming of Jesus? Why did God go to all the trouble of announcing before-hand what He was planning before HE did it—i.e. in other words, why would God tell us that Jesus was coming, instead of just letting Jesus show up on the scene?
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