Friday, April 21, 2006

Passover - Part 1

I know Passover for this year has already passed, but since I'm still doing a study of the Lord's Feasts and this is the first one, that is what I'll be talking about today.

First I want to say I attended a Passover dinner put on by a local church this year. We actually did this on Friday night (4/14) although the actual Passover began this year at sundown, April 12th. Passover was meant to be celebrated in a smaller intimate setting than what I experienced from this Passover meal, however it was a wonderful learning opportunity for me. I believe my house church group (about 12 of us, not counting the children) will be celebrating next year in a more intimate setting.

"On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord's Passover." (Lev. 23:5)
Nisan 14th

Exodus 11 - In this chapter the 10th plague is described as occurring at midnight when God would pass through the land and kill the firstborn of all families and cattle.

Exodus 12 - God outlines the steps to be taken by His people who trusted Him in order to avoid the plague, in order to be "passed over".

Requirements for Passover

* A year old male lamb, perfect with no flaws or defects was to be taken from the flock on the 10th of Nisan

* For four days the family was to take the lamb into their homes to ensure it was fit for the sacrifice and to become attached to the lamb. In this way the lamb became "their lamb".

* At sunset on the 14th day of Nisan the lamb was to be publicly killed and the family was to apply the blood of the lamb to their doorpost.

* The innocent lamb became a substitute so the Lord's judgment "passed over" the family.

At the time of the first (and true) Passover, the month of Nisan became the first month in the Jewish religious calendar.

God's requirements for the Passover Meal

God required three items for the Passover Meal to be eaten:

1. Lamb - a young lamb was chosen to symbolize innocence. It was roasted over a fire to symbolize the judgment of the first born

2. Matzah (unleavened bread) - this symbolized the purity of the sacrifice because leaven symbolized sin.

3. Bitter Herbs - served as a reminder of the suffering of the lamb (and of the Jews as slaves in Egypt).

Importance of Passover

1. There was only one Passover when the Lord passed through the land as judgment. All other celebrations since then have been a memorial to this one true Passover.

2. Passover is the oldest, continuously observed feast in existance today. It has been celebrated for some 3,5000 years.

3. Even today more Jewish people observe Passover than any other Jewish holy day.

4. Passover was so important to the Lord that He allowed those who could not celebrate on the 14th of Nisan (those defiled by touching a dead body or who were away on a long journey) to celebrate Passover 30 days later on the 14th of the second month. This is the only holy feast for which He made an accomodation such as this.

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