by Steven Guzzi
The Passover is one of seven major feasts in the book of Hebrew scriptures. That number 7 is significant spiritually speaking, representing perfection. “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” (Psalms 12:6-7). Interestingly, seven becomes associated with preservation and completion. God promises to preserve his Word and sure enough, thousands of years after the Bible, both Old and New Testament has been preserved. God prophesied it, and it has come to pass, lending credibility to the Bible’s claim of inspiration (2 Timothy 3:16). However, all 7 of these feasts represent God’s redemptive plan in figures God has ordained the Israelites to observe. However, the span of these feasts represent the timing for God to fulfill his salvation program, so that the first 4 in the spring, including the Passover represent some aspect of the first coming of messiah as our sin bearer, and the long summer is representative of the New Testament era, from Yeshua to his 2nd return in Judgement and completion of the kingdom promises, figured in the last 3 feasts in the fall. It’s interesting that the first 4 symbolic meaning of each of these feasts are fulfilled on the very day those feasts are being observed; for example, Christ is crucified as our Passover (sacrificial blood lamb), on the very day of the Passover itself. “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us…” (2 Corinthians 5:7). “And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King” (John 19:4).
The Passover itself was the event that finally broke the camel’s back and allowed the Pharaoh to set ancient Israel free from their long bondage as slaves. “Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night” (Deuteronomy 16: 1). One observation is that Israel’s time in Egypt wasn’t all bad, especially when leadership who knew Joseph were still in control (Exodus 1:8 ). When things got bad, it is then that God would preserve his people by his covenant with the patriarchs (Genesis 12; 15) to raise up Moses, a deliverer, who would be used of God to invoke many plagues on Egypt (Exodus 7:1, 20). An interesting archaeological find, the Ipuwer papyrus, an ancient poem by an Egyptian testifying of events that resembled the biblical plagues adds extrabiblical support for such an event. Many experts don’t think there is actual evidence for the Exodus, but a good reason for that is that they place it at the wrong time under the wrong Pharaoh, so if you look at the wrong layer with the wrong leader, you won’t find any evidence, but if you look in the middle kingdom under a different pharaoh then the one that is often heralded as the pharaoh of the Exodus but actually isn’t, Ramses 2, there is a pattern of archaeological evidence that fits the biblical narrative very well, including evidence of an Asiatic population arriving in Egypt, multiplying quickly and vastly, slavery, judgment or plagues on Egypt, Israel’s exit, and their conquest of Canaan. During Ramses 2, there is no decline in Egypt’s power, and shortly after Ramses 2’s death, the Berlin Pedestal reveals Israel’s name as conquered, meaning the Pharaohs exaggerated and often took credit for things they didn’t do, but it shows that they at least looked at Israel as an enemy who was already established as a nation, showing that Ramses 2’s time is not the time of the Exodus. When assessing biblical accounts one can’t ignore biblical chronological descriptors, including the one in 1 Kings 6:1 which says there was 480 years from Solomon (around 970 BCE) to the Exodus. An adjustment in Egyptian dating has been called for, believing there is an error in it. Making the adjustment brings us to the time in which the Exodus would have happened, during the middle Kingdom. It is here where “the stones cry out.” Here is where there is a pattern of evidence for each step regarding the Exodus. However, for the interest of space, I will focus on the one pertinent piece of evidence to our discussion, which is evidence for the last plague, that finally sparked Pharaoh to say enough and let Israel go. There is sure archaeological evidence for an emergency burial in Egypt during the time, where there are heaps of young children all thrown every which way, as if the Egyptians were concerned with some contamination or plague. This is fitting with the plague of the biblical Passover, where God destroys the firstborn of the Egyptians who do not have the lamb’s blood on the front door posts.
This idea of sacrifice seems to be prevalent amongst many cultures, including pagan religions. How could that be? In a biblical worldview, God created man, and plants, animals and humanity didn’t self-evolve, but each kind created unique and distinct (Genesis 1), allowing for mankind to have an innate knowledge of God (Romans 1). After a universal worldwide deluge destroyed much of the world, 8 survivors replenished the earth and took with them the knowledge of God and his ways, as well as knowledge of the flood itself (Genesis 6-9). After Babel (Genesis 10-11) As successive generations come, they had a knowledge of God and his requirements including sacrifice. Also, they carried a knowledge of this worldwide flood, so that it becomes very interesting that every ancient culture has some account remarkably similar to the biblical one regarding a universal flood that destroyed the earth and hosted a few survivors. This can’t be coincidence. Of course this knowledge gets perverted, so isn’t pure accounts, nor pure worship styles. So God instructs a people he started from Abraham to be sanctified (set apart) to represent himself, so that they can bless the rest of the world or nations (Genesis 12:3). This would come by allowing them to be instrumental in bringing God’s Word the scriptures and his eventual messiah that would bring redemption (Isaiah 49:6). He would also enact a pure sacrificial system and sanctified worship for his people to observe and be an example for the world (Deuteronomy 4:7-8 ). Sacrifice has always been a part of God’s system from Adam (Genesis 4:21, through Abel (Genesis 4:2-4), to Noah (Genesis 8:20, to the patriarchs (Genesis 13:4; 22: 13; 31:54), and the 12 tribes and their descendants (Genesis 46:1). God working through each Mosaic instituted feast requires sacrifice, particularly blood sacrifice. Scripture is unanimously clear (Old and New Testament) sin brings death; “...the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4) This is the payment required by God’s holy justice (Psalms 89:14). “the blood maketh an atonement for the soul,” Mosaic law pronounces (Leviticus 17:11). God requires blood. In fact, God rejects Cain’s fruit offering (representing self-merits and good works) for Abel’s offering (a lamb) (Genesis 4:3-10). When Abraham goes up the mount, Isaac, asks his father where the lamb is and Abraham tells him, “My Son,God shall provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering…” (Genesis 22:. This language is foreshadowing God’s redemptive plan in bringing messiah in the world to be what Yeshua was called by John the Baptist, “Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The actual Son of God represented by Abraham’s Son would be the sacrifice, as Isaac didn’t have to (Genesis 22:8 ), hence the language “God shall provide himself a lamb.” God himself in the person of his Son did take upon a human nature temporarily as he did in the Old Testament on occasions (theophanies) (Genesis 18 ), but now for the purpose of being the sacrificial substitutionary lamb for atonement of sin. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold…But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
During the Passover, God required a firstborn lamb without blemish (Exodus 12:5). This deliberate choice of a specific animal was not random, but pointing to the need of a sinless atonement by blood. It says of Yeshua, “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth…Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:22, 24). The eating of the unleavened bread during the Passover feast symbolizes sin removed or sinlessness by virtue of the lamb’s sacrifice, since leaven often represents sin (Genesis 12:8-20, 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 ). Passover feast is 7 days; remember that number 7 representing perfection and completion and in this case from God’s sacrificial atoning lamb. One lesson in the Passover was if one does not have the lamb’s blood, they will be judged because the sacrificial atonement wasn’t applied to their house (Exodus 13:15). Yes, the Bible is clear Judgment will come and all those unsaved (without the Lamb’s blood as their covering will die the 2nd death (eternal damnation) (, Daniel 12: 2; Revelation 20:14). God has provided the lamb, for he himself has become the lamb in the person of his messiah or Son, the suffering servant of Isaiah (Isaiah 52:13; 53) and the cut off messiah of Daniel 9:26 and child born and son given called the mighty God in Isaiah 9:6. All culminate in Yeshua’s divine fulfillment for the purpose of being our Savior, so we can be delivered from the slavery of sin, the law and hell just as Israel was delivered from physical bondage of Egypt. Through it we were set free to eventually enter Canaan (the Promised land-Joshua 6-13) representing the kingdom of God. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). The righteous messiah would bring reconciliation by the only means to satisfy God’s holy law and justice (Daniel 9:24), death by blood (Exodus 30:10), the full payment of sin represented by not only the Passover and other feasts, but all sacrifices including the temple ones. Significantly shortly after Yeshua’s death, the temple is destroyed in ADE 70, written about by Josephus, hence God showing us that the fulfillment has come and temple sacrifices foreshadowing that fact are not necessary; therefore, it is no coincidence that the temple hasn’t been erected in almost 2,000 years. But why should God abandon blood sacrifices if that is such an integral part of atonement? He hasn’t (2 Chronicles 2:4), if we understand the sacrifices were types, pictures, figures of the true solution to man’s problem, a sinless messiah who could actually save humanity in a way that no animal ever could (Hebrews 10:4). After all animals can’t take away a man’s sin; a divine servant man was necessary and that’s who the messiah would be.
Isaiah says, “Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men…Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin…He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth…my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities…” (Isiah 52: 10-13). Notice the servant man in this presented as a marred or gory lamb, who is an offering for sin, bearing our iniquities. There is no doubt the Bible is clear regarding servant messiah being this true Passover lamb atoning for sin. “How much more shall the blood of Christ [messiah], who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14). But the Passover is still celebrated, showing God still honors the symbolic feast commemorating the actual historical Exodus, foreshadowing the Passover lamb himself. Just as ancient Israel had to have faith in the lamb as their salvation from the judgement, so too we must have faith in God’s lamb for salvation of our souls. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God…But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:1-2, 8-12). Application of the lamb’s blood to the doorposts of our heart by faith is necessary unleavened bread (removal of sin), which allows judgment to pass over us. “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye 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” (Exodus 12:13).