Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Passover for Christians

Scripture:  Matthew 26 v 18: "And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples."

1 Corinthians 5 v 7-8: "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 
 8  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."

John 1 v 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."

Since 1984 we have kept the Passover Seder because Jesus said it was important and gave us an instruction to do so. It contains powerful truths, which are largely overlooked by Christians, and which needs to be shared. 

We do not keep Passover as a bondage to the law of Moses, but because Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb.  Just as Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, Isaac, in obedience to God, a ram was substituted and Isaac was spared.  We, like Isaac, were spared eternal death in Hell by the substitution of the Lamb of God.  

Because Adam gave sovereign authority to Satan over this planet, every approach by God had to be legally correct and every act of God had to have a legal precedent.  The obedience of Abraham and the sparing of Isaac were the legal precedent to the sacrifice of Jesus for the souls of the whole world.

In the book, Betrayed, by Sam Telchin, this Jewish man became very agitated when his eldest daughter became a born again Christian.  He set out on a quest to bring her back to Judaism.  To fight fire with fire he read the New Testament and went to Christian conferences.  While sitting outside a conference hall he asked God in anguish, Abraham started circumcision as the covenant between You and him and all Jews, as Your part of this Covenant, when did God bleed and when did God die?  He immediately saw a vision of Jesus on the Cross.  He became a believer on the spot. (I still cry when I remember this and write it, it touched me deeply.)

When Jesus was born it was in a stable in the special area where the Passover lambs were selected and set apart for the feast. The lambs had to be first-born males without any blemish.  Paul wrote to the Corinthians, who were Gentile converts to Christianity and told them to keep this Passover feast because Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us.

The first Passover was in Egypt when Moses and Aaron confronted Pharoah for the final time. They told him that if he did not release the millions of Hebrew slaves to worship their God that before morning the eldest male child of man and beast in Egypt would be dead. Pharoah refused.

God told Moses that every household of the Jews must slaughter a lamb and apply its blood to the doors of their homes. When the angel of death came down that night every home with the blood of a lamb upon it would be spared the death of their eldest son.

The next morning there was a great cry throughout Egypt as every home and even Pharoah had lost a son. Pharoah commanded the Jews to leave and go into the wilderness. As they left in haste the bread had not risen as there was no time to put yeast or leaven in it. They called it Matzos. They pierced it and when cooked it had stripes across it.

During the Jewish Passover feast a person takes a broken half of matzo wrapped in a linen serviette out of a stack of 3 matzos and hides it under a cushion. A child will find it later in the feast.

The Matzos are a symbol from Heaven to the Jews who remain blinded to this day. They will look upon Him whom they have pierced and weep as for an only Son. It even has stripes on it as He was lashed 39 times. The broken matzo is taken from a stack of three matzos wrapped in linen and hidden under a cushion.  The three indicate the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus was wrapped in a linen shroud after He died and was put in a Tomb covered by a rock.

Every time the Jews celebrate Passover they are re-enacting the death and resurrection of Jesus without ever knowing it! One day they will know the full truth of what they are doing. The symbol of Jesus' resurrection is when after the Passover Supper the matzos is found behind the cushion and brought to the table.

The Last Supper was a Passover Seder in which Jesus instituted the Communion. We always end our Passover Seder by celebrating Communion with the broken matzo and the grape juice poured for Elijah. It's called the Cup of Elijah and is never drunk at a Jewish Passover, nor do they have Communion. In Matthew Jesus took The Cup - it would be the Cup of Elijah - indicating that the Messiah has come.  This Cup would only be drunk in  Jewish Seder if the Messiah had come.  So when Jesus took The Cup the disciples were finally and utterly convinced.

Jesus' last meal with His disciples was special and had a purpose that should have been a memorial for Christians too. After the Passover meal Jesus was arrested and examined by Pontius Pilate who found no fault with Him. This was equivalent to the High Priest choosing a spotless lamb for Passover sacrifice. Pilate washed his hands of the decision to crucify Jesus like the washing of hands ceremony that happens during the Feast. At the same time that the lambs were slaughtered Jesus was nailed to the Cross to die.

In the first Passover in Egypt the blood of a lamb protected the Jews from death. When John the Baptist first saw Jesus he cried out Behold the Lamb of God who comes to take away the sin of the world. Between Egypt and the Cross God demanded the sacrifice of lambs and other animals for forgiveness of sin. Now God provided His own sacrifice, Jesus the Lamb of God, whose Blood covers the sins of every human being and saves us from everlasting death.

The matzos are symbolic of the Living Unleavened Bread that came down from Heaven. Leaven is linked to sin in the Bible.  Jesus invites you all to participate in the Passover this week and to do it in remembrance of Him. It occurs on 19 April and incorporates the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which lasts until 27th April.  We eat only food that is free of yeast or baking soda.  Food like Matzos instead of bread.

There are various books that contain the whole ceremony and diagrams of the Seder plate. It is all designed to keep our memories of Jesus fresh and vibrant.  It is a very worthwhile blessing that increases our knowledge and understanding.

Through the original Passover and Exodus of the Jews God brought them to the Promised Land. Through our  participation in this memorial we are brought into a wonderful freedom in our fellowship with God.
He saved them and delivered them from cruel bondage, then took them through the Red Sea.

The Lord saved and delivered us from bondage and death and made us part of His Body through baptism.
1 Corinthians 10 v 1 - 6: "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
 2  And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
 3  And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
 4  And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 
 5  But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
 6  Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted."

Even the whole of the events surrounding Moses' life were a legal precedent for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  Moses did it all physically while with Jesus it was all spiritual.  At the birth of each of them all the male children were ordered to be slain.  Pharoah and Herod were a type of Antichrist. Satan knew that a great Deliverer of God's people had arrived but he didn't know which baby.  He is not all knowing.

No loopholes, no loose ends, no fear of failure.  Our God is an awesome God, He reigns over Heaven and Earth in wisdom, love and power.

We need to celebrate every aspect of our salvation, and for me and my house, Passover is far more important than the Easter Bunny and worship of Roman fertility goddess, Oestre, through eggs, chickens and rabbits.  

The Romans have hidden their pagan gods under the guise of Christianity.  The pagan feast called Satturnalia, at the end of December, in worship of Baal, who was formerly known as Nimrod, the Hunter of men's souls, became Christmas as 25 December was the day Nimrod was born.  

Twelve Roman Catholic churches have been desecrated, vandalized or burnt in France this last week, including the beautiful Notre Dame cathedral last night.  It was built upon the site of an old Roman temple.  Has God's judgment on the house of God begun?  In Holy Week?  Was the Notre Dame fire just an accident?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for ensuring our salvation was made so easy through Your mighty wisdom and power.  Your plan has outwitted the enemy at every turn.  Thank You for revealing truth and uncovering lies and false traditions so we worship You in truth and in Spirit.
I pray for everyone to discover the blessings of Passover for themselves. We also pray for the eyes of every Jew to be opened to the reality of Jesus as their Messiah. In Jesus' name. Amen.