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What is Passover?

In the narrative of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God helped the Children of Israel escape from their slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the ancient Egyptians before Pharaoh would release the Israelite slaves. The tenth and worst plague was the death of the Egyptian first-born. The term “Passover” is derived from the Hebrew word Pesach, which is based on the root “pass over” and refers to the fact that God “passed over” the houses of the Israelites, because of the blood of the lamb.

Below are just a few of the many lessons from that momentous Passover day.

1.   A New Beginning (Exodus 12:2)

Before the Passover God told Moses, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you.” The history of Israel was not a predictor of their future. Seemingly, from the time they sold their brother Joseph into slavery, their lot was cast. Even before that, Jacob was a supplanter, stealing his brother’s birthright. God gave Israel a fresh start. He changed the calendar as a visual reminder of this truth.

Whatever we have done in the past God gives us a new beginning through Jesus Christ our Passover lamb. The Julian and Gregorian calendars have been changed to reflect this fact. We record time as either B.C. or A.D. It is time to shake off the mistakes of the past and to accept the gift of God. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2.   It’s a Family thing (Exodus 12:3)

The blood of the lamb spared everyone in the house. Salvation is a family thing. It was not meant to be administered individually. God instructed Moses to tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb for the household. If Pharaoh and his family would have stayed in a house with the blood, they would have been saved from the death angel. Remember, Rahab the harlot, her father’s household and everyone in her house was saved alive. (Joshua 6:25)

Today the concept of household salvation seems foreign, because we live in an age of individualism. The Old Testament is clear on the matter. Let’s look at what New Testament has to say about this concept. The apostle Paul believed the unbelieving spouse is made holy [saved] because of their mate. He goes on to state, “Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy.” (1 Cor. 7:14) We see the household saved with Jesus and Zacchaeus (St. Luke 19:9) and with the Philippian guard who was over Paul and Silas in prison (Acts 16:30-31). It seems clear, the actions of one can saved the whole house. The good news of the Gospel is salvation is not only is it free, but it covers the whole family.

3.   Get Ready to Move (Exodus 12:11)

Change can happen in an instant. Life is full of examples where our whole life changes in a flash, sometimes for good and other times for bad. This is exactly what happened to the Israelites at Passover. “In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.” They went from a clan of slaves to a free nation over night. What was true of Israel is true of us.

The salvation we experience in Jesus our Passover lamb starts the moment we decide to put our faith in him. Everything changes in that moment. Our eternity takes on new meaning and a new level of hope. I think as believers we get this, yet we fail to trust God with the other moments of our life. We do not always know what God’s plan is for us or when He will intervene in our situation. Nevertheless, we should be persuaded to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. Great things happen in the blink of an eye. However, those moments do not come without the wait and they do not come without faith.

4.   When I see the Blood (Exodus 12:13)

“The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. 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.” The blood of the lamb upon the door was a visual sign or token to the people of Israel of God protection or salvation. The Israelites were supposed to tell the story to their children and grandchild, in order that they may know and trust the Lord. (Exodus 10:1-2)

The same is true today. The blood of Jesus our lamb is a sign or token to us of God’s salvation and protection. The wrath of God, which is to come, will pass over us. We are supposed to talk to our descendants about it, to instill trust in God. As I stated earlier, salvation is a family thing.

5.   A Day to Remember (Exodus 12:14)

The Lord mandated Passover to be an eternal observance. “This day shall be for you a memorial day and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.” It is not a time of fasting, but feasting. It is a time to celebrate and remember how God delivered His people with a strong hand. Passover was an answer to the prayers of the Hebrew slaves. This is the message the Israelites children were meant to receive.

Passover is still a day to remember, even for the Church. God does not want us to start reminiscing about the good old days and how the Lord used to move. No, we are supposed to commemorate what God has done in the past, in order to believe what He will do for us today. It should stir up our faith. Passover is a day to remember God always answers prayer.

Conclusion

Passover freed Israel from more than 400 years of slavery and defined them as a nation. The sacrifice of the Passover lamb foreshadows Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. Jesus’ freed us from the bondage of sin and defined us as a Kingdom of God. Passover is a central event in Jewish and human history.

Sources:

Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV), except where noted

Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Passover – Pesach: History & Overview

Everything Can Change in an Instant

Robert R. Davis is an ordained minister, author, teacher and software developer.  He has a deep passion for understanding the meaning behind the commands and precepts of the Bible.  He is the author of five books to date.  Website: robertrdavis.com

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