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Monday, June 10, 2013

The Story of Passover


The story of the Passover is the story of the deliverance of God's people from the bondage of sin. It is traditionally understood that the Passover Lamb was typical of Jesus, and that through the Blood of this Lamb, Yahweh has redeemed His people, leading them by His Spirit through the wilderness temptations of the 1st century AD, much as His Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness to face His temptations.

Malki-tzedek is probably one of the most interesting figures in the narrative of Scripture, not just because he was, as Hebrews 6:13-7:28 report, 'without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life', but also because he, being a Jebusite king, king of what became known as Jerusalem, was a priest of the Most High God. According to Genesis 14:18-20, he was a historical figure, and also according to some Jewish traditions, the oldest son of Noah, Shem, the renowned and prosperous. As the foremost type of Christ that we see in the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures, the writer to the Hebrews took license, at the inspiration of the Spirit of God, to give nigh the same status to this figure as to the Son of God!


As we can see, even with focusing mainly on the Passover; there is one single thread, intricately woven throughout the Scriptural history of God's people, that links us all together! This thread, of course, is revealed in the prophetic Scriptures to be Jesus, the only begotten Son of God who became a man in order to orchestrate the redemption and salvation of His people from their sins, and from slavery in Egypt! Egypt, as we have seen, is what Israel under that first covenant had become. In Ezekiel's prophecy, chapter 16, we read the story of God's everlasting love for His people Israel. Beginning in verse 53, and reading through verse 63, we see that even though Israel, under that first covenant, had become the very thing that God had freed His children from, God showed His undying love for us by instituting a New Covenant with Israel. He sent of His own essence to lead His people on a New Exodus, a Final Exodus from the New Egypt, through His once for all sacrifice as the True Lamb of God!

The Passover, like the Lord's Supper, was instituted as a remembrance, nothing more, nothing less, of our deliverance from Egypt. We read in Exodus 12 how the children of Israel, in preparation for their deliverance, were to make ready a lamb, either of the sheep or goats ( Matthew 25 ), together with bitter herbs and unleavened bread, in haste. The feast of unleavened bread is celebrated to this day among the Jews as a memorial of this significant and symbolic event.

When Jesus, as a Jew among Jews, celebrated His final Passover ( supper ) with His disciples, He instituted a new way of celebration; He utilized the bread and wine that were an ordinary part of any meal to symbolize the body and blood of the True Passover Lamb, and of their True Deliverance from Egypt! After they had supped, as the account goes, at least according to the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 11, Jesus offered the bread and wine to symbolize His Body which was about to be given up for them.

How should we then live; what shall we do?

As the Israel of God, which the apostle Paul calls us in Galatians 6:16, we are an integral part of the story, and thus partake, not in the shadow, which the Passover was, but in the substance, which is the Body of Christ!

What does it mean then, to partake in the Body of Christ? It most certainly does not involve any physical action on our part ( or does it )! Our participation in the Body of Christ does not, as did the children of Israel's in the Passover, mean preparing a meal, much less one with flat lifeless bread and bitter herbs, even normal food and drink, as bread and wine. The apostle Paul addresses this in his letter to the Romans, chapter 14, verse 17. The Meal that we partake of is the Body of Christ. It is a participation in His Life, a Life which He freely shares with His people; it is the Life that we now live, not as His subjects, but as His Sons and Brothers, in His Kingdom!

Let us determine to live in the Love we were given, sharing it with our brothers and sisters!

Charles Haddon Shank

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