Pastor David B. Curtis

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Feasts of the Lord - Part 1:
The Feast of Passover

Leviticus 23:4-5

Delivered 04/28/2013

We begin a study this morning on the "Feasts of Yahweh." Most Christians are totally unfamiliar with these Seven Feasts and their significance. My goal and prayer is that by the end of this series all of you will have a good understanding of these feasts and their prophetic significance.

As Americans, when we think of holidays, we think of a time away from work when we can do what we enjoy. We observe quite a few holidays; we celebrate everything from Christmas to St. Patrick's Day. But Old Covenant Israel's holidays were prescribed by Yahweh. There were seven of them. These seven holidays are discussed throughout the Bible in both Covenants. But only in Leviticus 23 are all seven holidays listed in chronological sequence. These seven holidays are called "The Feasts of Yahweh."

These seven annual feasts are:

1. Passover

2. Unleavened Bread

3. First Fruits

4. Pentecost

5. Trumpets

6. Day of Atonement

7. Feast of Tabernacles

We find all seven of these in chronological order in Leviticus 23. Let's look at that text:

The LORD spoke again to Moses, saying, "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: Leviticus 23:1-2 NASB

The first thing I want you to notice here is that we see the word "LORD" two times. This is from the Hebrew . Reading from right to left it is: Yod-Hei-Vav-Hei, which is pronounced as Yahweh. This is called the "Tetragrammaton" (Greek, meaning: "four letters"); these are the four consonants, YHWH, which make up the divine name. The written Hebrew language did not include vowels, only the consonants were used; thus readers supplied the vowels as they read (this is true even today in Hebrew newspapers). Reverence for the divine name led to the practice of avoiding its use. In time it was thought that the divine name was too holy to pronounce at all. Thus the practice arose of using the word Adonai: "LORD." Many translations of the Bible followed this practice. In most English translations, YHWH is recognizable where the word LORD appears in all caps.

The name (Yahweh) appears nearly 7,000 times (6,824 in NASB) in the Hebrew Scriptures, but not even once in the English Bible. If Yahweh used His name almost 7,000 times in Scripture, I think He wants us to know it and use it:

Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, Praise the name of the LORD. Blessed be the name of the LORD From this time forth and forever. From the rising of the sun to its setting The name of the LORD is to be praised. Psalms 113:1-3 NASB

It's hard to praise His name if you don't know it or don't use it.

Back to our text in Leviticus: 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, whichmeans: "rehearsal." In other words, the Feasts of Yahweh were appointed times of worship for Israel that would serve as "dress rehearsals" of prophetic events that were to happen in the future. Through these Feasts God was showing Israel what He was going to do. They were pictures of their coming Messiah. Things that happen to Israel in the natural usually parallel things that happen spiritually in the Church. These Feasts are not just part of the heritage of Israel, there is something much deeper going on here.

Yahweh tells the Israelites, "You shall proclaim..."--this is from the Hebrew, 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. A New Testament verse that really brings this out is:

Yeshua spoke to them again in parables, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. "And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. Matthew 22:1-3 NASB

Through the Feasts, Yahweh was calling out to Israel, calling them to trust their Messiah.

Fundamentally, these Seven Feasts represent and typify the sequence, timing, and significance of the major events of the Lord's redemptive career. They commence at Calvary, where Yeshua voluntarily gave Himself for the sins of the world (Passover), and climax at the consummation of the Messianic Kingdom at the Lord's Second Coming . These Seven Feasts depict the entire redemptive career of the Messiah.

The number "seven" is the biblical number of completion. After creating the world, God rested on the seventh day. He did not rest as a consequence of being tired-- omnipotence doesn't get tired. Rather, God rested in the sense of completion and satisfaction. What God created was good and satisfying. Nothing else was needed. On the seventh day of the week, the children of Israel were to observe a Sabbath rest patterned after God's creation rest. They were to rest from their labors.

The study of the Feasts is a study in typology. Typology is a method of biblical interpretation whereby an element found in the Tanakh, the Hebrew Scriptures, is seen to prefigure one found in the New Testament. The initial one is called the type and the fulfillment is designated the antitype.

Wick Broomall has a concise statement that is helpful: "A type is a shadow cast on the pages of Old Testament history by a truth whose full embodiment or antitype is found in the New Testament revelation" (Baker's Dictionary of Theology, p. 533).So we have a type and an antitype. The type is the picture, the anti-type is the reality. A type is a real, exalted happening in history, which was divinely ordained by the omniscient God to be a prophetic picture of the good things that He purposed to bring to fruition in Christ. Paul tells us that Adam was a type in:

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. Romans 5:14 NASB

Who is the antitype of Adam? It is Christ, who Paul calls the "last Adam" in 1 Corinthians 15:45. Paul tells us that the Feasts were types in:

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

The Greek word used of "festival" here is heorte, which is the normal word used for referring to the "Feasts of Yahweh." Colossians 2:17 indicates that the Feasts are shadows to teach us about the Messiah. When we study the Feasts of Yahweh we are in reality studying the Messiah. Each Feast is a prophetic picture of the Messiah:

Declaring the end from the beginning And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; Isaiah 46:10 NASB

Each Feast is an announcement to the end. As you understand the Feasts you will begin to see God's prophetic time-line unfolding, and you will grow deeper in your knowledge of the Messiah. Our endeavors at studying the Feasts should not just leave us with academic knowledge; rather, it should leave us in awe of Yahweh who is forever praised!

Also notice from 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.

Most believers and most Bible teachers see the first four Feasts as being fulfilled in Christ's First Coming. But they are still looking for the fulfillment of the Fall Feasts in our future. But as I said, In Paul's day all the Feasts were about to become shadows:

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 Tanakh. 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. Shadows aren't enough. You can't live in the shadow of a house; you need a house. Notice again that the "good things," the realities to which the shadows pointed, were "about to" come.

Thomas Hartwell Horne explains in An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, a text that was standard reading for British divinity students:

"A type, in its primary and literal meaning, simply denotes a rough draught, or less accurate model, from which a more perfect image is made; but in the sacred or theological sense of the term, a type may be defined to be a symbol of something future and distant, or an example prepared and evidently designed by God to prefigure that future thing. What is thus prefigured is called the antitype."

I believe The Seven Annual Feasts, or holy days of Old Covenant Israel, which take place in the first seven months of their agricultural year, were all fulfilled both prophetically and spiritually in the period from the death of Yeshua, to the fall of Jerusalem; which equates with the return of Yeshua, the end of the Jewish age, the resurrection of the dead, and the consummation of the kingdom of God in A.D. 70.

These Feasts must be viewed in their strategic order. Judaism today treats Trumpets as the New Year, and that is wrong, it is not the New Year. By doing that, they can never really understand prophecy. The Feasts have to be viewed in their order from Passover through Tabernacles. The Feasts actually convey two forty year exodus periods. The first exodus period is one familiar to all of us. Israel, after the flesh, was removed from bondage to Egypt at Passover, and they were put in the wilderness on a physical journey to a physical promise land. Now the more important and the spiritual exodus we are not so familiar with: this exodus runs from the Cross to A.D. 70. Passover is the beginning of the redemptive process. Let's look at the "Mount of Transfiguration" in Luke:

And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Luke 9:29-31 NASB

Moses and Elijah appear in glory, and they speak of Yeshua's departure. The word for "departure" is the Greek word exodos. This same word is used in Hebrews 11:22 and translated: "exodus." There was an exodus that was to begin at the cross and start another forty year journey. In this exodus, Israel, after the Spirit, left its bondage to the Law of Sin and Death (Ro. 8:2) and begins a forty year spiritual journey to a spiritual inheritance, the Kingdom of God or the New Heavens and New Earth.

For our study this morning we are going to look at the first feast the Feast of:

1. Passover:

'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

Passover is the foundational Feast. The other six Feasts that follow are built upon it. Passover occurs in the spring of the year, on the 14th day of the Hebrew month, Nisan (March/April).

You'll remember that the first Passover was observed when Israel was about to be delivered from slavery in Egypt. God had spoken through Moses, demanding that Pharaoh release His people, but in spite of a series of devastating plagues, Pharaoh refused to do so. And so now, in preparation for the final and most terrible plague, the death of every first-born, God gives Moses specific instructions for how the Israelites are to be saved. If you'll turn with me to Exodus 12, we'll look at 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 calendar with its introduction. The month that God was referring to was the month of Nisan. Prior to God's establishing the month of Nisan as the first month in the religious calendar, it was the seventh month in the civil calendar. Right in the middle of the year, God gives them a new beginning. The relevance, of course, has to do with Redemption.

As we look at the Passover, please keep in mind that it is a type, or picture of something much greater--it pictured the redemption of God's elect through the sacrifice of the sinless Son of God, the Lord Yeshua:

"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 Yeshua the Christ. A lamb is rather symbolic in Christological interpretation. How do we know this? We learn this in the New Testament. Writing to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul draws the parallel for all time when he says, "Christ, our Passover Lamb, was sacrificed for us." (I Cor. 5:7).

When Yeshua first appears publicly, John the Baptist introduces Him 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. All Israelites understood this. Yeshua's first introduction by John highlights His destiny as the Lamb of God who is to die for our sins. The Passover Lamb foreshadowed God's final Passover Lamb and suffering Servant Yeshua the Christ whom God would one day send to this world to be sacrificed so that His blood could be used to remove the sin of His elect. All who placed their faith in Him would be saved, not from the bondage of Egypt, but from the bondage of sin and guilt and delivered into the Kingdom of God--a Kingdom of life, joy, peace, and love.

The prophet, Isaiah, could speak 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 pictures the substatutionary death of Yeshua, the Lamb of God:

'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

Yahweh tells the Israelites that this lamb is to be unblemished. In the New Testament we see that Christ was 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. Paul also mentions Christ's sinlessness in 2 Corinthians 5:21 "Him who knew no sin..."

There are several points of interest in our 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

Yahweh commanded Israel to take a lamb on the tenth day of Nisan and set it aside until the fourteenth day. These four days were fulfilled by Yeshua during the Passover week. Yeshua 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 time Yeshua was examined by many in fulfilling this Scripture, including: The chief priests and elders (Matthew 21:23); Pilate (Matthew 27:1-2,11-14,17-26); Herod (Luke 23:6-12); Annas the high priest (Luke 3:2; John 18:13,24).

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

Notice what the middle of Exodus 12:6 says:"The whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it." This is a strange grammatical construction, because as we saw in verse 3, there was to be a lamb for each household. But the way it reads in this verse, it's as if there is one lamb. In this we see the responsibility of all Israel, indeed of all people, in the crucifixion of Christ. It was the sins of ALL OF US which crucified Him. Mark tells us:

It was the third hour when they crucified Him. Mark 15:25 NASB

This is nine o'clock in the morning, it was the time of the morning sacrifice. At the very same moment that they are binding the passover lamb to the horns of the alter on the temple mount, they are binding Yeshua 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

Our text 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."

The biblical day goes from evening to evening, from sundown to sundown, which is roughly 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Genesis 1:5,8,13,19,23,31). The day (6:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.) is divided into two 12-hour periods. The evening runs from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. The morning runs from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Each 12-hour period is divided into two smaller portions. From 6:00 a.m. to noon is the morning part of the day. From noon to 6:00 p.m. is the evening part of the day. 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.

Yeshua 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. And Yeshua, our Lamb, was killed on the very same day, at the very same time as the Passover lamb: the 14th of Nisan at 3:00p.m. This is no coincidence! The lamb was the type and Yeshua is the antitype.

The ninth hour was also an hour of prayer, and 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." He is the final Lamb slain for the sins of the world.

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 (over 40,000 per hour) had been slaughtered. This would be about 3:00pm

The high priest who had closely inspected the lamb, satisfied it was unblemished, would say: "I find no fault in him" (John 18:38, 19:4, 6). 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. After the high priest offered up the last lamb he would say "I thirst." He would then wet his lips with water and proclaim that, "It is finished," meaning the slaughtering of all the lambs for Passover. It was exactly 3:00pm when Yeshua, our High Preist, gave up His Spirit and said His last words; "It is finished."

Exodus 12:6 tells us that they were to "kill the lamb." This was prophetic of the death of Christ. Israel killed the lamb at Passover, beginning the first exodus; and Israel killed the Lamb of God, Yeshua, beginning the second exodus:

"But those vine-growers said to one another, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!' "They took him, and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. Mark 12:7-8 NASB

One observance to be kept concerning the lamb which was to be slaughtered was that not a bone of the lamb should be broken:

"It is to be eaten in a single house; you are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house, nor are you to break any bone of it. Exodus 12:46 NASB

John remembered this fact during his writings about Yeshua. In reference to the soldiers who were supervising the crucifixion, John said:

The soldiers therefore came, and broke the legs of the first man, and of the other man who was crucified with Him; 33 but coming to Yeshua, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs; 34 but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water. 35 And he who has seen has borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. 36 For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, "NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN." John 19:32-36 NASB

John also tells us that there was a plaque placed on the cross:

Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, "JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS." Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. John 19:19-20 NASB

On a plaque directly above Yeshua's head on the cross, Pilate had four words inscribed. It read (right to left): "Ha Yehudim vMelech Ha Nazarei" (Yeshua of Nazarith, King of the Jews). If you take the first letter (consonant) from each word and use it as an acronym, it reads correctly "YHVH." That is why the Pharisees got so upset and told Pilate to change the writing because the sign recognized Yeshua as Yahweh.

Although the Passover is filled with meaning, its primary emphasis is Redemption. The New Testament truth that "Christ died for our sins" is demonstrated well in the Passover. According to Exodus 12:7, the lamb's blood was to be put on the two side posts and above the door. Why? Why were they to kill this lamb and put its blood on the door? Yahweh answers this question in the next two verses:

'For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments - I am the LORD. 13 'And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; 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. Exodus 12:12-13 NASB

The first thing I'd like you to notice is that the lamb was a substitute. If you were an Israelite, and you wanted your household to escape death when the angel of Yahweh passed by, you had to kill an innocent creature. You had to show that you had done so by smearing its blood on the doorway of your house. If you did that, then the Lord would accept the life of the animal in place of the life of your first-born child. In the same way, Christ gave His life as our substitute.

This idea of substitution: of Christ being condemned and suffering and dying in our place, is fundamental to the Christian faith. Because, in contrast to every other form of religion, we hold to a Gospel of Grace; a Gospel of God's unearned, undeserved, unmerited favor. We are forgiven, but not because our so-called "good" deeds outweigh our bad ones. We have eternal life, but not because we do our best to live up to a moral code. On the contrary, we know that our good works are insufficient; that we constantly fail to meet Yahweh's perfect standard of holiness; and that we deserve, not acceptance and approval from Yahweh, but rather rejection and condemnation. No, our hope is not based on anything we have done, or could do, but entirely on the fact that Yeshua the Christ, the sinless Lamb of God, gave His life in exchange for ours; that by His blood, He paid the penalty for sin on our behalf. As Paul puts it:

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us-- for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE" Galatians 3:13 NASB

Because of our sin, we owed a debt we could not pay. But Praise Yahweh! Christ paid a debt He did not owe by going to the cross and enduring the wrath of God in our place. He was, and is, our Passover Lamb.
This is what the Gospel is all about, Christ died for us:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NASB

Let's go back to Exodus 12 and the story of the first Passover:

Now it came about at midnight that the LORD struck all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the first-born of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the first-born of cattle. 30 And Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where there was not someone dead. Exodus 12:29-30 NASB

There is absolutely no sensationalism here, but only the most cursory account of the fulfillment of the Word of Yahweh spoken through Moses. At midnight, the firstborn of the Egyptians were slain, from the king of Egypt to its cattle, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh to that of the prisoner. The weeping and wailing that night was not like anything ever heard in the land before. At the same time, none of Israel's firstborn, whether man or beast, was smitten. God's promises are certain. There is no need to elaborate further.

I'd like to point out that in order to escape judgment, in order to receive the saving benefits of the lamb's death, the Israelites had to exercise faith. They had to place their confidence in the Word of Yahweh as it came to them through Moses. And they had to demonstrate that faith by doing what God instructed them to do. If you were an Israelite, and you heard what God had commanded through Moses, but decided to ignore it, your first-born would die, just like those of the Egyptians. Your own good works wouldn't save you. Your identity as a Jew, a descendant of Abraham, wouldn't save you. Only a personal faith in Yahweh, trusting in the blood of the Lamb would save you.

The typical significance of the Passover is very clear in the New Testament writings. Probably no Mosaic institution is a more perfect type than this. The first Passover was celebrated on the 14th of Nisan. And almost two thousand years later Yeshua of Nazareth was crucified on the 14th of Nisan. While Israel was celebrating their Passover, Yeshua, the true Lamb of God, was being crucified. He was the Lamb of God which the ancient Passover lamb typified. He died to save us from God's judgments just as that lamb died instead of the first-born. As those ancient first-born redeemed by the blood of that lamb therefore belonged peculiarly to Yahweh, so we who are redeemed through Christ belong to God in a special sense. We are saved by His death, not merely by His life. A live lamb tied at the door of one of those Hebrew homes in Goshen would not have been sufficient to shield the first-born from wrath. It must die. Those who deny the vicarious death of Christ and teach salvation through His beautiful life alone, disregard the lesson of the Passover. Nor should the equally important truth be overlooked that the blood must be applied as well as shed. The blood was to be applied to the door-posts and lintels. The blood thus applied was the means of salvation then. So now the mere fact that Christ died for sinners does not save them. The blood must be applied to them individually for their salvation from sin's guilt and penalty.

As we look at Passover and see its fulfillment in the Cross of Christ, we renew our confidence in the Scriptures; these things are beyond coincidence.

The firstborn of Israel were not spared because they were more worthy or more righteous than the Egyptians. Like the Egyptians, the Israelites were sinners, fully deserving of divine wrath. Had Israel been worthy, there would have been no need of the sacrifice of the Passover lamb with its blood applied to the door frame. The firstborn of Israel were spared due to the grace of God alone. God's provision of a means of escape was based upon His grace, not Israel's merits.

There is no clearer example of salvation by grace in the Tanakh than the Passover, which we have just studied. Every person in Egypt, whether an Israelite or an Egyptian, was worthy of God's divine judgment. The reason why men find the judgment of God in the smiting of the firstborn so difficult to justify is that they do not grasp the seriousness of their own sin.

Believers, we must understand that because Christ is our Passover Lamb, we are Yahweh's possession. The firstborn of Israel had to be redeemed because God had spared them, and thus they belonged to Him. While only some of those Israelites who were in Egypt were firstborn, and thus in need of being redeemed, all of us who have trusted in Christ belong to Him.

Because Christians have been redeemed by the Lamb of God, they do not belong to themselves, and they must, therefore, live out their lives as a living sacrifice to Yahweh. When we come to faith in Christ, we cease to own ourselves, and we become Christ's possession. We are not to live our lives independently, autonomously as Christians, but we must live them out as those who have been bought with a price and as those who belong to Yahweh.

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