MEANING OF THE PASSOVER PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE

The  most important ceremony observed by ancient Israel  was  the Passover ceremony, because the Passover  was a yearly reminder to the Israelites of  their  release  from slavery in Egypt. Moreover, the  Passover is  the  most important ceremony observed by the  elect  of  God today, because it is a yearly reminder of the sacrifice of Jesus  Christ for each individual's sins. Passover today also pictures the  beginning of God's plan for the salvation of humanity.

After the return of Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords, the Passover  will be an important event that will eventually be observed by  all  of humanity. But, why was the Passover  so  important to Israel, why is it still important to those who truly follow God today, and why  will it be important to humanity after Christ's return?

The observance of the Passover season has provoked many questions over  the  centuries among those who seriously study  the  Bible. However,   for those who realize that this day illustrates the beginning of God's plan for humanity as pictured in the annual  festivals,  the above questions are very important and worthy  of  answers.

In  this  age of lawlessness and religious debauchery,  the  true meaning and significance of the Passover has been virtually lost. In this study paper, we will attempt to show the awesome   meaning of the Passover—past, present, and future.

Editor's Note:

When studying the Passover observance, it is important to  understand that this observance  teaches God's plan for the  salvation of humanity through a progression of events and symbolic rituals.   

As  we  analyze  the Passover ceremony as it  has  been  observed throughout  the  ages, we will see the  literal,  prophetic,  and symbolic meanings of its sacrifices and rituals and how they were fulfilled, discarded, modified, and/or replaced with  new ones.

It  is  particularly  important to be aware of  this  process  of progressive  teachings in order to understand the  last  Passover that  Christ observed and the rituals and symbolism that   Christ instituted for his followers to observe  on  subsequent Passovers.

A good understanding of the ceremony, rituals, and events of both the  Exodus  and subsequent Passovers  in ancient Israel  is  extremely  important in order to understand the events that surrounded the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

THE FIRST PASSOVER CEREMONY

It  is  necessary to understand that the historical  events  surrounding the first Passover are not given in chronological  order in  the  Book of Exodus; therefore, their order  of  presentation here has been arranged for the purpose of story flow.

At  the  end of Exodus 10, the  ninth  plague is ending  and Pharaoh  calls for Moses and Aaron to permit the Israelites  to leave Egypt. This conversation between Moses and Pharaoh continues  into the 11th chapter with some information  inserted  about events  that occurred after this meeting and before  the first Passover.

Exodus 10:24-29 Paraphrased

"And Pharaoh called to Moses, and said, Go, serve the Lord.  Only leave your flocks and herds behind. Your little ones may go  with you" (v24).

Pharaoh  offers to let the people go but he will not allow  them to take their livestock with them. However, Moses demands that Pharaoh release the animals as well as  the  people:

"And Moses said, You must also give into our hands sacrifices and burnt  offerings,  so that we may prepare them for the  Lord  our God. And also our livestock shall go with us. Not a hoof shall be left. For we shall take from them to serve the Lord our God.  And we do not know with what we shall serve the Lord until we  arrive there" (vs.25-26).

After Moses makes his demand to Pharaoh, the event that follows sets the stage  for  the  last plague along  with the preparation and completion of  the  first Passover ceremony:

"And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he was not  willing to send them away. And Pharaoh said to him, Go away from  me. Be careful for yourself. Do not see my face again, for in the day you  see my face you shall die. And Moses said, You  have  spoken rightly. I will not see your face again" (vs.27-29).

It  is  important to visualize what transpires  during  this last meeting between Moses, Aaron, and Pharaoh. The ruler of one of the world's greatest nations is being challenged  by two men for whom he has no respect. In addition, they claim to be  representatives of a God he does not believe in, and they come in this  God's name demanding that he release the  Israelite  slaves who are a major source of his nation's wealth.

Exodus  11:4-8 concludes the conversation between  Moses,  Aaron, and Pharaoh, which began in chapter 10, verse 24:

"And Moses said, This says the Lord, About midnight I  [God] will go  out  into the midst of Egypt: And all the first-born  in  the land of Egypt shall die, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sits upon his throne, even to the first-born of the maidservant  that is  behind the mill; and all the first-born of beasts. And  there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt,  that  has never happened before nor shall it ever happen again. But against any  of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his  tongue, against  man or beast:  that you [Pharaoh] may know how that  the Lord does put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.  And all  these your servants [Pharaoh's servants] shall come down  to me  [Moses], and bow down themselves to me, saying, Get out,  and all  the people that follow you:  and after that I will  go  out.  And  Moses  went out from Pharaoh in a  great anger"  (Ex.11:4-8 Para.). See Ex.3:21-22; 11:1-3.

The First-Born

Notice that only the first-born of Egypt were to be killed by the death angel, and all the Israelites were to be spared:

"And  you shall say to Pharaoh, This says the Lord, Israel is  my son, even my first-born: And I say to you, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if you refuse to let him go, behold I will kill your son, even your first-born" (Ex.4:22-23 KJV).

In  ancient times, a first-born child had a special place in  the family,  and the highest honor and privilege among  the  children went  to the first-born son. The symbolism of the first-born  was transferred  literally to national Israel as God adopted them  as his  children. Those who are called to participate in  the  first resurrection before Christ's return are also called sons  because they  are the first-born  of the  Father's  New  Creation.  See Heb.12:23-24; Rom.11:7-25.

THE SELECTION OF THE LAMB

"And  the  Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the  land  of  Egypt, saying,  This month shall be to you the beginning of  months:  it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak you to all the congregation  of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of  this  month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the  house of their fathers, a lamb for an house" (Ex.12:1-3 KJV).

There  are  two important things to remember  from  the above scriptures:

1. God set this month as the first month of his sacred year.

2. On the tenth day of this first month, each head-of-household had to select a lamb for the Passover sacrifice.

As  we  will see, this tenth day is also very  important  to  the events  surrounding  the  Passover before the  crucifixion  of Jesus.

THE KILLING OF THE LAMB

"And it shall be for you to keep until the fourteenth day of this month.  And  all of the assembly of the congregation  of   Israel shall kill it between the evenings" (Ex.12:6 Para.).

There are two facts to take note of at this point:

1. The lamb was selected for death on the tenth day of the  first month   and killed on the fourteenth day prior to  sunset,  which is the beginning of the fifteenth day.

2. The Passover is a ceremony which spans a  time  period  that includes the end of one day and the beginning of another.

Numerical Meanings

Hebrew is a language in which each  letter  has  a numerical value. The Bible is constructed in an intricate  mathematical  pattern wherein  every  word, sentence,  phrase,  and  concept pertaining to any given subject is linked together with a specific numerical value or mathematical equation unique to itself.

Everything  that God does and has caused to be written has  meaning, and so it is with the dates that he chose for the  Passover. The  dates surrounding the Passover were not only chosen because of their seasonal meaning they were also chosen because of their numerical meaning.

The Passover ceremony begins this process with the selection  and sacrifice of the lamb, which symbolizes the supreme sacrifice for the protection from death. This first month shows the primacy and unity  between the supreme sacrifice (the lamb) and the  festival days in that, the lamb is eaten at the very beginning of the first  day of  the Festival of Unleavened Bread,  which pictures the maintenance  of a sinless condition that is only made  possible  by  the supreme sacrifice.

The  first  Passover's  prophetic symbolism  pointed  toward  the perfect sacrifice of the Creator and Savior of humanity and  the day that he would give his life so that humanity would have a way to escape eternal death.

THE BLOOD AND THE DOOR

"And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side-posts   and  on the upper door post of the houses,  wherein  they shall eat it" (Ex.12:7 KJV).

They were to kill the lamb before sundown at the end of the  14th day,  put the blood on the sides and top of the door  frame,  and wait  for the death angel to pass through  Egypt.  All  the Israelites who went through this door into the house came under the protection of God. If they remained there until morning, they would stay alive (Ex.12:12-13); if not, they would die because the whole nation of Israel is considered the firstborn of God (Ex.4:22).

Jesus, the Blood and the Door

Jesus fulfilled the prophetic symbolism of the blood and the door. It is through the Father's invitation (Jn.6:44,65) and the  sacrificial  blood of Christ (Heb.10:22)  that we may enter God's protection from eternal death and have everlasting life in his  kingdom (Acts 4:12). However, once we decide to enter God's protection, we become a first-born (1.Cor.15:20-23) and if we decide to leave (Lk.9:62) this protection we come under the penalty of the second death from which there is no return:

"Jesus  said to them again, Truly, truly, I say to you, I am  the door  of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves  and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find good pasture" (Jn.10:7-9 KJV).

THE EATING OF THE LAMB

"And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened  bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat  it.  Eat not of it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance [innards]  thereof" (Ex.12:8-9 KJV).

The lamb was not to be butchered in the  normal manner; it was to be left whole after the blood had been drained from it. See 2.Chron.35:11-14.

There  were a number of literal, symbolic, and prophetic  reasons for the manner in which the Israelites were to roast and eat  the lamb:

Break No Bones

"It shall be eaten in one house. You  shall not carry any of  the flesh outside  the house. And you shall not break  any  of  its bones" (Ex.12:46 Para.). See also Num.9:12.

There are two important things to note in verse 46:

1. The  lamb must be eaten within the house that had  the  lamb's blood placed on its doorposts.

They were not allowed to take the lamb  out  of  the house  and  share  it with others, because the lamb  was  only sacrificed  for  those of that particular house––it  was  their personal sacrifice. It would have no beneficial effect on  those for whom it was not sacrificed.  

2. Because the lamb is symbolic of Jesus Christ, none of its bones were to be broken. See Psa.34:20; Jn.19:31-36.

THE REMAINS OF THE LAMB

"And  you shall let nothing of it remain until the  morning;  and that  which remains of it until the morning you shall  burn  with fire" (Ex.12:10 KJV).

Why did the sacrificial lamb's remains have to be burnt with fire?

Once  the sacrifice had been made, its protective blood had been used  for its purpose, and its body had been eaten,  it could never be used for this purpose again.

The  burning of the lamb's remains  shows that once salvation  is accepted, there is no turning back. Once the Israelites sacrificed the lamb and accepted the salvation offered through it, the sacrifice could never  be done again. As the record shows, when  the   Israelites left Egypt, they could not return. They had been saved from physical death and slavery, and to return would mean their death.

This  meaning  of the burning of the lamb's remains is transferred to those who are called to salvation during the gospel age of salvation. Once the sacrificial blood of Christ is accepted and applied to the forgiveness of sin, the deed is done and it can never be performed again:

"For  it is impossible for those who were once  enlightened,  and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of  the holy spirit, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of  the  world to come, If they shall fall away,  to  renew  them again to repentance, seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame" (Heb.6:4-6 KJV).

"For  if we sin willfully after that we have received the  knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins.  But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries" (Heb.10:26-27 KJV). See  also Lk.9:62.

It Is The Lord's Passover

"And thus you shall eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your  feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it  in haste: it is the Lord's Passover" (Ex.12:11 KJV).

The  Hebrew verb 'pasakh', which is 'Passover' in  English, basically means to skip over something. The absolute infinitive form of the verb 'pasakh' means to protect as well as to pass over. The concept of protection is included in the meaning of 'pasakh'. Therefore, 'Passover' has the meaning of skipping over as well as protecting.

Israel to be Passed Over

"For  I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and  will smite  all  the  first-born in the land of Egypt,  both  man  and beast, and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute my judgment:  I am the Lord. And the blood shall be to you for  a  token upon the houses  where you 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.12:12-13 KJV).

The Blood of Atonement

Although God considered the Israelites his first-born, they  were not  in right-standing with him. While in  Egypt,  they had lost sight of God and his  laws;  therefore, they were in need of being reconciled to him in order for him  to place them under his protection.

Without the shedding of blood, there can be no atonement for  sin. Unless a life is sacrificed to pay the penalty for violating  the law, sin cannot be set aside or forgiven:

"For the  life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given  it to  you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls:   for it  is  the blood that makes atonement for the  soul" (Lev.17:11 KJV).

"And  almost  all things are by the law purged  with  blood:  and without shedding of blood is no remission" (Heb.9:22 KJV).

From the Genesis record, it is obvious that Cain and Abel had been instructed how to be put back in right-standing  with  God through the sacrificial system. Cain was unwilling to  diligently follow God's instructions so he was a sinner before God.  However, Abel was willing to obey God; therefore, he was righteous in God's eyes. As it says in Genesis 4:7, Cain would have been smiling if he had given the  proper sacrifice. We know Abel offered the proper sacrifice  (Heb.11:4) because he was put back into right-standing with God.

Why was Abel's sacrifice more excellent than Cain's? In Genesis  4:4,  Abel offered a firstborn of his flock.  Abel  knew that  someday  Christ would come to earth and offer himself as  a perfect sacrifice, and through Christ, he could  have  his  sins taken  away  and forgotten. Abel offered the proper sacrifice, which was symbolic of Christ's sacrifice; therefore; his sins were set aside and he was put back in right-standing with God.  

Prior to Christ's sacrifice, when a person violated God's law, their fellowship with  God was interrupted and their access to him was barred.  In order  to deal with this situation, God designed the  sacrificial system. By offering the proper sacrifice, the breach  that was  caused by the violation of the law was repaired and  fellowship was restored.

When  the  Israelites offered the sacrifice  that  God  required, their  sins were hidden from God's sight and they were placed  in right-standing with him.

When the Israelites killed and ate the lamb in Egypt, they obeyed God in offering the proper sacrifice. The lamb's  blood  upon the door posts was evidence to  God  of  their obedience. Therefore,  God was bound by his word to  place  them under his protection and spare their lives. This same literal and symbolic  meaning  is carried forth to the new agreement  in  the blood of Christ.

Stay in The House Until Morning

"Then  Moses  called for all the elders of Israel,  and  said  to them,  Draw out and take you a lamb according to  your  families, and kill the Passover. And  you shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the  lintel and  the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin:  and none  of  you  shall go out at the door of his  house until  the morning" (Ex.12:21-22 KJV).

In  the  last half of verse 22,  God  commands  the Israelites to stay in the house until morning. The reason for  this command is that the only protection they had from  the destroyer was the lamb's blood, which indicated to  the destroyer  that those within that particular house were  under  God's protection. If anyone—man, woman, or child—ventured out from under  the  protective symbol of the lamb's blood, they  would  be killed by the destroyer.

If only the first-born of Egypt were to be killed,  why were  the Israelites who were not first-born forbidden to go  out of their houses? The reason  is that all Israelites at that  time were considered by God to be his first-born.

This  same symbolical meaning of Israelites being the  first-born of  God also applies to those called to participate in the  first resurrection.  If any of the first-born of the New Creation  venture  out from under the protection of the blood of  Christ,  they are subject to losing their life for eternity.

Remember This Day

"And this day shall be to you for a memorial; and you shall  keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; you  shall keep it as a feast by an ordinance for ever" (Ex.12:14 KJV).

"Observe  the  month of Abib, and keep the Passover to  the  Lord your God: for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought  you forth out of Egypt by night" (Deut.16:1 KJV).

God  commanded the Israelites to observe the day they left  Egypt as a memorial and a feast day throughout their generations. This command to keep the feast throughout their  generations has been passed on to the followers of Christ and to  those who  will live after his return when the government of God  rules the earth.

The day the Passover was eaten is to be a memorial and must  also be kept as a festival day. The Hebrew word 'hag' (i.e., feast) found  in Exodus 12:14, has the connotation of demanding a celebration or festival to kept.

An Observance Forever

Exodus 12:17

"And you shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt:  therefore  shall you observe this day in your generations  by  an ordinance for ever" (KJV). See also Deut.16:3-8.

Exodus 12:23-28

"For  the Lord will pass through to kill the Egyptians; and  when he sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to kill you. And you shall observe  this thing for an ordinance to you and to your sons for ever. And it shall come to pass, when you come into the land which the Lord will give you, according to his  promise, you shall keep this service. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say to  you, What  is the meaning of this service? You shall say, It  is  the sacrifice  of the Lord's Passover, who passed over the houses of the  children of Israel in Egypt, when he killed  the Egyptians, and  delivered our houses. And the people bowed their  heads  and worshiped" (Para.).

Exodus 12:42

"It is a night to be much observed to the Lord for bringing  them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the Lord to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations" (Para.).

It is important to note that the Passover meal was not a festive event. There is a tremendous difference between  what  happened during  the  Passover ceremonial meal (the passing  over  of the destroyer) and what happened during the daylight portion of the 15th day of the first month (the exodus from Egypt).

The word 'observed' in verse 42 is the Hebrew plural of  'shimmurim', which means 'vigil or watch'. In Jonah 2:8, the verbal  root of  'shimmur' means 'paying attention'. The word  'shimmurim'  is only used twice in the entire Old Testament and does not refer to observing   a  feast or celebration of any kind. The  problem  is that  'shimmurim', which means 'vigil or watch', cannot be translated  into the English word 'observance' (i.e.,  a  celebration) without altering the meaning of this verse.

The  point is very clear that the Passover ceremony was to  be  a night that should be kept as a memorial of the  momentous  events that  occurred on that night.  And it was to be  kept  throughout the generations of those who observed the first Passover and throughout the generations that would follow.

For those who would come to understand the writings of the  prophets, the  Passover was not only a reminder of what had happened but also of the prophetic meaning of the Passover and its future fulfillment.

WHO IS ALLOWED TO OBSERVE THE PASSOVER?

"And  the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance  of the  Passover:   There shall no stranger eat thereof:  But  every man's servant that is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof. A foreigner and an hired  servant shall not eat thereof" (Ex.12:43-45 KJV).

A certain class of people were  prohibited  from participating in the Passover ceremony because  of the  covenant relationship that God would form with Israel at Mount Sinai:

"All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. And when a stranger  shall  sojourn with you, and will keep the  Passover  to  the Lord,  let  all his males be circumcised, and then let  him come near  and keep it; and he shall be as one that is  born  in  the land:  for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof"  (Ex.12:47-48 KJV).

Circumcision  was  an  outward sign that an  individual  and  the nation of Israel were under the terms and conditions of the Abramic Covenant (Gen.17:10-14). The instruction to circumcise all the males given during the events surrounding the first Passover was not  only a reminder of the Abramic Covenant but also pointed  to the future agreement God would make with Israel at Mount Sinai.

Because all males under the Abramic and Sinai covenants were to  be physical and spiritual leaders, circumcision was symbolic of the physical covenant condition and the  spiritual covenant  condition. Although only males could bear the outward sign of the covenant, both males and females could bear the  inward sign through their heart-felt obedience to God:

"And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to  fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to  love him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and  with all your life. . . Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and  be  no more  stiff-necked" (Deut.10:12,16  KJV).  See  also Jer.4:4.

The circumcision mentioned as being a necessary condition for the observance of the Passover observance under the first agreement  with national Israel was prophetic of  the  spiritual sign between God the Father and the sons of his new creation:

"For  he is not a Jew that is one outwardly, nor is  circumcision that  is  outwardly  in the flesh; but he is a Jew  that  is  one inwardly;  and circumcision is of the heart, and  in spirit, and not in the letter, of whom praise is not from men, but from  God" (Rom.2:28-29 Para.). See Phil.3:3 and our study  paper  concerning Paul's teaching on circumcision.

Spiritual circumcision is a prerequisite for participation in the new  covenant  during the gospel age of salvation and  after  the return of Jesus Christ to rule the earth. During the Gospel  age, only  those who have repented, been baptized, and  received  the holy spirit, are to partake of the Passover.

THE PASSOVER IN THE WILDERNESS

When  the Israelites left Egypt, the first literal fulfillment  of the  Passover  had been accomplished. After they  agreed  to  the covenant that God offered at Mount Sinai, the Passover was observed differently from the original Passover in Egypt; in that, there was a central place (the tabernacle)  to offer  the sacrificial lamb and a priesthood to present its blood before God.

Numbers 9:1-12 KJV

"And  the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in  the first  month of the second year after they were come out  of  the land  of Egypt, saying, Let the children of Israel also keep  the Passover at his appointed season. In the fourteenth day of  this month,  at even, you shall keep it in his appointed season:   according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall you keep it" (vs.1-3).

The Passover was to be  kept  in  its season along with all of its rites and ceremonies.

The Alternate Passover

"And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a  man, that they could not keep the Passover on that  day:   and they  came before Moses and before Aaron on that day:  And  those men said to him, We are defiled by the dead body of a man: wherefore  are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of  the Lord  in his appointed season among the children of  Israel?  And Moses  said to them, Stand still, and I will hear what  the  Lord will command concerning you" (vs.6-8).

These men had a valid concern. They knew that  they were ceremonially unclean, and that they could not partake of the Passover in this condition. They also knew that they must partake of the Passover or they would be removed from Israel.

"And  the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the  children  of Israel,  saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall  be unclean  by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey  afar off, yet he shall keep the Passover to the Lord. The fourteenth day of the  second  month at even they shall keep it, and  eat  it  with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They shall leave none of it to the  morning, nor break any bone of it:  according  to  all  the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it" (vs.9-12).

A very important point to take note of is the aspect of being  on a  journey when the Passover came. Why would this be  a  concern? The  reason  for  concern was that the only  place  where  the Passover  lamb  could be sacrificed was at  the  tabernacle.  See Deut.12:4-7; 16:5-7; Jer.7:12; 2.Chron.6:40-42; 7:1-3.

The Passover is so important to God and his covenant relationship with his chosen people that he made a special provision for it to be  kept on an alternate day if there is a valid reason  for  not observing it in the first month of the sacred year.

The Blood of the Covenant

"And  Moses came and told the people all the words of  the  Lord, and  all  the  judgments: and all the people  answered  with  one voice,  and said, All the words which the Lord has said we  will do" (Ex.24:3 KJV).

"And  Moses  wrote all the words of the Lord, . . . and  built  an altar. . . offered  burnt offerings, and   sacrificed   peace offerings . . .  And Moses took half of the blood, and put  it in basins; and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and  they  said, All that the Lord has said we will  do, and  be obedient. And  Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it  upon  the people,  and  said, Behold the blood of the covenant,  which  the Lord  has  made with you concerning all these words"  (Ex.24:4-8 KJV).

Notice the blood of the sacrificial animals was sprinkled on  the altar (see also Heb.9:19), and then upon the people. After this,  the people  agreed  to do whatever God required of  them.  With  the sprinkling  of blood, the covenant was ratified and  sealed;   the people and the nation of Israel had a formal agreement with God. Because  they had been sprinkled with the sacrificial  blood  and had agreed to obey  God, they were under his care and protection and they would  remain so as long as they kept their part of  the  agreement.

The  ratification and sealing of the agreement with the blood  of a  sacrificial animal pointed to the time when an eternal  agreement with individuals would be ratified and sealed by the  sacrificial blood of the Creator God himself.

The Sin of Neglect

"But the man that is clean, and is not on a journey, and forbears to  keep the Passover, even the same soul shall be cut  off  from among his people: because he brought not the offering of the Lord in his appointed season, that man shall bear his sin" (Num.9:13 KJV).

Because the Passover was an intrinsic part of the agreement  that the  Israelites had made with God, neglecting to  observe it  was an extremely serious breach of this covenant relationship. If this covenant relationship was not renewed annually, a person was no longer entitled to the  benefits and protection given  under  it and was to be cut  off  from Israel as a punishment for this neglect.

As we will see, similar conditions are made a part of the  Gospel age Passover as instituted by Jesus Christ.

SUMMARY

For ancient Israel, the  Passover was a very important event  and, as history shows, it impacted their national existence as well as their  daily lives for  better or for worse depending  on  their attention to its  observance. Within its rituals,  many  prophecies concerning the Messiah and his mission for the redemption  of  humanity are revealed. The following are a few  of  the  prophetic meanings of the Passovers of the past that looked forward to  the coming of Christ and beyond:

The  elect of God of all ages prior to the return of  Christ  are  God the Father's first-born sons (sons of his new  creation) (Heb.12:23).

The Lamb of God was set apart before the existence of the earth for  his  sacrifice for the salvation of  humanity  (Heb.9:24-28; 1.Pet.1:19-20; Rev.13:8).

It  is  through the blood of Christ that sin is  forgiven  and  a person  is protected from eternal  death (Matt.26:28; Acts  4:12; Eph.1:7; Col.1:13-14; 1.Jn.1:7).

Although the celebration of the Passover had great  significance to  the nation of Israel, its meaning was not limited to the  ancient  Israelites.  Within the symbols and prophetic  meaning  of this  day is found the beginning of God's plan for the salvation of all humanity.

By B. L. Cocherell, file b5w21