by Stephen Haskell
Jesus, hail! enthroned in glory!
There forever to abide;
All the heavenly hosts adore thee,
Seated at thy Father's side:
There for sinners thou art pleading;
There thou dost our place prepare,
Ever for us interceding,
Till in glory we appear.
Worship, honor, power, and blessing,
Thou art worthy to receive;
Loudest praises, without ceasing,
Meet it is for us to give;
Help, ye bright angelic spirits,
Bring your sweetest, noblest lays;
Help to sing our Saviour's merits,
Help to chant Immanuel's praise!
THE Passover was the opening feast of the yearly round of religious services. It was both commemorative and typical,–commemorative of the deliverance of the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, and typical of the deliverance from the thralldom of sin of every individual who claims Christ as his Passover Lamb, and accepts His blood as a covering for past sins. (1 Cor. 5:7)
The Passover was celebrated in the early springtime, when the opening buds and flowers proclaimed that winter was past. As the time drew near for this feast, every road leading toward Jerusalem was thronged with devout Jews wending their way toward the holy city; for every man of the children of Israel had to appear before the Lord at the time of this feast. Duet 16:16
All classes mingled together in these traveling companies, which were constantly increasing as they neared the city. Shepherds, farmers, priests, and Levites, men from all walks in life, joined the throngs which entered Jerusalem from all directions. The homes in the city were thrown open to entertain them, and tents were pitched upon the house-tops and in the streets to shelter those attending the feast, and to provide rooms where as families and groups they might gather to eat the Passover.
Prior to the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt, the new year began in the autumn; (Ex. 23:16; 34:22) but when the Lord brought the Israelites out from Egyptian bondage, in the month Abib, or Nisan, He said, "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months:it shall be the first month of the year to you." (Ex. 12:2) The month Abib corresponds with the last of March and the first of April.
On the tenth day of the month Abib, the Passover lamb was selected, and was kept separate from the rest of the flock until the fourteenth day of the month, when it was slain. There was an appointed hour for the slaying of the lamb–" between the two evenings," (Ex. 12:6) or about the ninth hour of the day, which in our reckoning of time would be three o'clock in the afternoon.
The lamb was roasted entire, not one bone being broken. If the family was small, several families could join together in the feast. Unleavened bread and bitter herbs were eaten with the lamb. The unleavened bread commemorated the rapid flight from Egypt, when the children of Israel took their dough before it was leavened, "their kneading-troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders." The unleavened bread also typified the condition of the one who is covered by the blood of Christ, the antitypical Lamb. (Ex. 12:1-6) To such a one the Lord says, "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." (1 Cor. 5-8)
Not only was unleavened bread used in the feast, but no leaven was allowed in the homes during the entire week following the day of the Passover.
This is a very beautiful emblem of the Christian, who, while claiming to be sheltered by the blood of Christ, should not only keep his mouth from speaking evil, but his heart also should be free from the "leaven of malice and wickedness." The bitter herbs were a reminder of their cruel bondage in Egypt. The lamb was to be eaten in the night of the fourteenth day of the month. If any of the flesh remained until the morning, it was burned by fire.
When the lamb was slain, a sprig of hyssop was dipped in the blood, and with it they were to strike the two side posts and the lintel of the door of the house where the lamb was eaten. This commemorated that wonderful deliverance of the first- born of Israel when all the first- :born of Egypt were slain. The Lord said, "The blood shall be to you a token upon the houses where ye are:and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt." (Ex. 12:13)
While the event commemorated by the blood on the lintel was wonderful, yet the event typified was far more wonderful. Just as truly as the destroying angel passed through Egypt and laid the icy hand of death upon the brow of every first-born child who was not shielded by the blood, so the second death, from which there will be no resurrection, will fall upon every one who has not been cleansed from sin by the blood of Christ. Rev. 20:14,15
There was no respect of persons; all were slain, from the heir to the throne of Egypt to the first-born of the prisoner in the dungeon. Exalted station, wealth, or earthly fame will not shield one from the destroying angel of the Lord. One thing alone will shield rich and poor alike, it is the precious blood of Christ. "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."(1 John 1:7-9)
Dwelling upon the commemorative side of the Passover feast, strengthens our faith. Remembering how the Lord wrought for His afflicted people, how he heard their cries and worked miracles for their deliverance, brings a blessing to the soul; but there is also salvation for the one who dwells upon the typical part of the Passover feast, and claims the blessings there shadowed forth by type and symbol. Every Passover lamb, from the one slain on the night of the deliverance from Egypt to the time of Christ, was a type of the Saviour in a special sense. "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us." (1 Cor. 5:7)
Just as the Passover lamb had for centuries been taken from the flocks a few days before it was to be slain, and had been kept separate, a lamb marked for death; so a few days before Christ was crucified, the Sanhedrin condemned Him to death. From that day forth, as they looked upon Him, they knew that His death was determined. As the lamb was kept apart, so "Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews.'' John 11:47-54) This was only a few days before Jesus was seized by the cruel mob and condemned by false witnesses.
On the morning after that awful night of torture and agony, the Saviour was brought to Pilate's judgment hall. All night the Jews had followed Christ while He had been in the presence of their high priest; but now, when He was taken into the Roman hall of justice, the Jews "went not 'into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover." (John 18:28) According to their ceremonial laws of defilement, they would not be permitted to eat the Passover if they entered this place.
This was the morning of the day the Saviour was crucified. It was the preparation day for the Jewish Passover, the day upon which, "between the two evenings," the lamb was to be slain; or, in other words, it was the fourteenth day of the month Abib, or Nisan, which in the year the Saviour was crucified fell upon Friday, for the day following was the Sabbath day, according to the commandment, the seventh day of the week. Luke 23:52-56
It was not by chance that the Saviour was crucified upon Friday, the sixth day of the week. For centuries God had ordained that the day following the Passover, the fifteenth day of the month Abib, should be kept as a ceremonial Sabbath, (Lev. 23:6,7) thus typifying the fact that Christ, the real Passover, would be offered the day before the Sabbath.
The Passover lamb was slain between the two evenings, or about the ninth hour of the day. The great antitypical Lamb, as He hung between heaven and earth an offering for sinful man, about the ninth hour, cried, "It is finished," and yielded up His life an offering for sin. (Matt. 27:46-50; John 19:30)
At this hour the priests were preparing to slay the lamb at the temple, but they were arrested in their work. All nature responded to that cry of agony from the Son of God. The earth reeled to and fro, and unseen hands rent the veil of the temple from the top to the bottom, (Matt. 27:50) showing by an unmistakable sign that type had met antitype. The shadow had met the substance which cast the shadow. No longer was man to approach God by means of offerings of animals, but he was to come boldly to a throne of grace, (Heb. 4:15,16) and present his request in the precious name of "Christ our Passover."
The work typified by the Passover extends on down through the ages, and will not have fully met its antitype until the children of God are forever freed from the power of the enemy of all righteousness.
It was at midnight that the destroying angel passed throughout Egypt, and manifested his power in delivering the people of God from bondage; so it will be at midnight that God will manifest His power for the final deliverance of His people. (Ex. 12:29,30) The prophet, looking down through the ages, says, "The people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away:and the mighty shall be taken away without hand." (Job 34:20)
Those partaking of the Passover feast were to leave nothing of it until the morning. The morning was to bring a new experience–freedom from bondage. The soul that accepts Christ as his Passover and partakes of Him by faith, enters upon a new experience–freedom from the condemnation of the old life. When God manifests His power at midnight for the final deliverance of His people, the morning will leave none in bondage. "Prison walls are rent asunder, and God's people who have been held in bondage for their faith are set free," nevermore to feel the oppressive power of the enemy.
The destruction of Pharaoh and all his host in the Red Sea, and the song of deliverance sung by the Israelites on the other shore, were typical of the final deliverance of God's people from this earth. (Rev. 15:2,3) The righteous will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, but the wicked, like Pharaoh's host, will be left dead upon the earth, neither gathered nor buried. (1 Thess 4:16,17)
No stranger could partake of the Passover feast; but there were provisions made in the old Levitical service whereby a stranger, by complying with certain forms and ceremonies, could become an Israelite, and then partake of the Passover. (Ex 12:48)
Sin debars mankind from sharing in the blessings promised the children of God, but there is a remedy for sins:"Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though, they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Is. 1:18) " If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.'' (1 John 2:1)
The children of Israel were surrounded by heathen nations, who, when all the men went up to attend the annual feasts, would seize upon their flocks and land, unless they were especially protected by God; for not only at the Passover, but three times in the year all the men of Israel were required to attend the feasts at Jerusalem. They went up trusting the promise, "I will enlarge thy borders:neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the Lord thy God thrice in the year." (Ex. 34:24) We have the same God to-day, and for the man or woman who will seek "first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness," God will "enlarge their borders," and protect their temporal interests. (Matt. 6:23-33)
No longer do God's people gather at Jerusalem to eat the Passover; but faithful followers of the Lord in all nations of the earth partake of the memorial of His broken body and shed blood. To each company the words are spoken:–"As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come." (1 Cor. 11:26)
There is a difference between the annual offerings, or feasts, and the ordinary offerings. The sin-offering, trespass-offering, peace-offering, or any of the ordinary, offerings could be celebrated at any time in the year, whenever the occasion or needs of the people demanded it; but not so with the annual feasts.
All the annual feasts were prophetic as well as typical. While the Passover lamb, slain each year, was a shadow of "Christ our Passover," who was sacrificed for us, the fact that the lamb could be slain only on the fourteenth day of the month Abib, was a prophecy that the antitypical Passover Lamb would yield up His life for the sins of the world on the fourteenth day of Abib.
One unanswerable argument that Jesus is the Messiah, is that He died upon the cross the very day, and time of the day, that God had said the Passover lamb should be slain; and He came forth from the dead the same day of the month, that the first-fruits had been waved for centuries. God, Himself, definitely fixed the date for the celebration of each of the annual offerings. The day of the year when each annual offering was to be celebrated, was a direct prophecy of the time when the type would meet its antitype.
Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us" 1 Cor. 5:7
The Lamb selected some days before it was slain.
Ex. 12:6 The Passover lamb was slain on the fourteenth day of Abib, or Nisan.
Ex. 12:6 (margin)
Ex. 12:8 Unleavened bread and bitter herbs were eaten with the lamb.
John 11:47-53 Christ condemned to death by the Sanhedrin some days before the crucifixion
John 18:28; 19:14; 19:31; Luke 23:54-56
Mark 15:34-37; John 19:30
John 19:33-36 Not a bone of the Savior was broken.
1 John 1:7
1 Cor. 5:7,8 Unleavened bread represented freedom from malice and wickedness.
1 Peter 3:10; 1 Thess. 5:23.
Mal 4:1-3, Ez3 28:12-19
Eph. 2:13: Gal. 3:29
Stephen Haskell--Table of Contents for his book "Cross and Its Shadow"
Index Page for "Pioneers' Writings
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