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The Persecuted Church

 

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In Gen 12:1-4 We see Yahweh begins to form a new people who will become a nation; God calls Abram at the age of 75 years away from “your country, your family and your father's house, to a land I will would show you.”

He promised Abram “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”(4 I wills in God’s promise, make this an unconditional covenant.)

Abraham was born in Ur; he was a descendent of Shem (nine generation), one of the sons of Noah (Gen. 11:27). Heb 11:8 states that “he went out, not knowing where he was going,” he left by faith.

God warned Israel through there prophets on almost everything crucial that would take place ahead of time. When Yahweh ratified the covenant with Abraham He told him in Gen. 15:12-14 “Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. “And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.”

During this time (Gen.13:14-17) God promises a son and numerous descendents to Abram, but time goes by and at the request of Sarah his wife wanting an offspring Abram wavers in faith and has a child (Ishmael) through Hagar his handmaiden. He favors Ishmael but God does not recognize him as the promise he spoke of. In Gen.17:1-7 God appears to Abram and tells him his name will now be called Abraham for He will be made a father to many nations. Gen 17:18-22 And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!” Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.

After years of waiting on the promised one from God Abraham has Isaac at the age of100 years by Sarah who is 90. It is years later Abraham is asked to bring Isaac up to mount Moriah to be offered as a sacrifice as a test of his faith [Isaac is probably in his teen years by then; according to Josephus (Ant. 1.13.2), twenty-five]. Isaac offers no resistance when he found his father placing him on the altar. Isaac becomes an important type of Christ in his surrender and submission to be sacrificed on Moriah (Gen 22) as Christ was ‘obedient to the point of death” to His Father (Phil. 2:5-8). As Abraham was in the process of carrying out God’s command (Gen. 22: 7-8) God’s messenger, the angel of the Lord (messiah) calls out telling him to withhold his knife. The Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, THE-LORD-WILL-PROVIDE; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of The LORD it shall be provided.” Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD (Yahweh), because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son.”

Many who read this in the Hebrew see the text say that God would provide Himself as the lamb. Both portions of the Talmud and the Targums agree to this interpretation. This was fulfilled in the person of Christ as the Lord did provide Himself in His only Son. Abraham was held back from sacrificing his son by the Angel (messenger of the covenant) of the Lord; it is he who would become the very one that would fulfill the prophecy (John 3:16).

We are told by the writer of Hebrews in 11:17-20 “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.” Abraham knew the promise was made of a great nation through Isaac his seed, and so he acted in faith knowing that if he had gone through with the sacrifice God would have raised him up. Yet there was only one that God would indeed raise up on the same mount, His only son Yeshua Christ.

After about twenty years Rebekah gave birth to twin sons, Jacob and Esau as twins. From the beginning of their birth they were wrestling with each other; they grew up they both went different ways.

Esau Came in one day from hunting famished, he saw Jacob enjoying a dish of stew and asked him to share his meal with him. Jacob being shrewd and living up to his name puts a price upon the food: the birthright of his brother Esau. This meant the headship of the tribe, both spiritual and physical possessions, and the possession of the great bulk of the family property, and carried with it the covenant blessing (Gen 27:28-29,36). Esau consented to Jacob's offer secured the food, and “rejected his birthright” (Gen 25:29-34).

Gen. 27:1-41 Isaac is sold and asks Esau to hunt for some game for him, Jacob is warned by his mother about the blessing, so Isaac goes to Jacob and with deceit making him think he is Easu and receives Esau’s blessing (even though it was now rightfully his). Esau his brother comes in from his hunting. Makes a dish and brings it to his father, and said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son's game, that your soul may bless me.” And his father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” So he said, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.” Then Isaac trembled exceedingly, and said, “Who? Where is the one who hunted game and brought it to me? I ate all of it before you came, and I have blessed him--and indeed he shall be blessed.” When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me--me also, O my father!” But he said, “Your brother came with deceit and has taken away your blessing.” [actually it was fair, and it was Esau who was not going to keep his word to his own brother of which his father knew nothing about]. And Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!” And he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” Then Isaac answered and said to Esau, “Indeed I have made him your master, and all his brethren I have given to him as servants; with grain and wine I have sustained him. What shall I do now for you, my son?” And Esau said to his father, “Have you only one blessing, my father? Bless me--me also, O my father!” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.

Isaac does bless him saying: “Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth, And of the dew of heaven from above. By your sword you shall live, And you shall serve your brother; And it shall come to pass, When you become restless, That you shall break his yoke from your neck.” So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” Well that didn’t happen and they became friends again

The New Testament does not have anything good to say about Esau, in Heb. 12:16-17 “lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.” God looked upon this as spiritual adultery, wanting as passing pleasure of the world he traded off the promise of God.

Gen. 32:24-30: “Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless You bless me!” So He said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” This person who appeared as a man was the Angel of the Lord. Later in Hosea 12:4 speaking of Jacob’s encounter he states “Yes, he struggled with the Angel, and prevailed, he wept and sought favor from Him Once again this angel (messenger of God) is involved in shaping the nation of Israel.

Jacob who wrestled with this man in appearance is asked by him, what is your name? This man consequently changes it to Israel, Jacob then asks what this mans name is that he is wrestling? When Jacobs name is changed to Israel His offspring became Israel the nation (as he represented the whole), tracing their physical posterity to Jacob.

Ps.34:7 states, “The Angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him.” This clearly shows that He is the nation Israel’s protector. Scripture teaches we are to only to fear God, yet they are told to fear this divine Angel (messenger). What is unclear will become clearer as we go on to whom the identity of the angel actually is.

Jacob has twelve sons (Gen 35:22-23). The elder son of Jacob, is Joseph through Rachel. Joseph is betrayed by his brothers after he shares a dream in (Gen. 37:6-10) to his brothers about their bowing down to him. His brothers plan a fake death and sell him to passing merchants for 20 pieces of silver, he is then taken into Egypt. God is moving ahead with his plan He spoke to the prophet Abraham. Through all this we find Joseph becomes one of the most important typology of Christ as Yeshua comes first as the son of Joseph before he returns as the son of David. We also see that through God’s hand Israel is set up for Israel to go into bondage and be released through a deliverer thus fulfilling all that their God has spoken.

The Midianites sold Joseph to Potiphar an officer of the ruling Pharaoh of the nation. Potiphars wife makes move on Joseph but he does not fall, she lies about him saying he made advances and he is put in jai (Gen.39). Through various circumstances Joseph remains faithful despite his unfair circumstances. It is during this time Pharaoh receives a dream about a famine that none of his counselors could interpret, Joseph is recommended and God gives Joseph the ability and solution to prepare the nation. By God’s grace Joseph in one day goes from jail to 2nd in command in all of Egypt.

The famine struck the lands next to Egypt including Canaan, and Joseph's brothers end up going Egypt to buy grain. Joseph reconciles with his brothers who betrayed him he sends word to Jacob to move his entire family to Egypt. Joseph works out the circumstances to bring his brothers to know who he is and they repent of their wrongdoing. Joseph asks Jacob and all of his family to join him in Egypt. Gen.46:1-4 God tells Jacob to go to Egypt and he will make them a great nation there. Because of Joseph’s position of influence, they are able to make their home in the fertile plains of Goshen.

Gen. 46:27 tells us, “All the persons of the house of Jacob who went to Egypt were seventy.” Joseph lived to 110 years, 93 were spent in Egypt; as he is dying tells his sons that their Egyptian journey is to be temporary and God will bring them out of this land as “He swore to Abraham to Isaac and Jacob” (Gen.50:24-25).

During Israel’s time in Egypt their numbers grew, their flocks increased, and they became a mighty people. We find in Exodus 1:8 a new king (Ahmose) arises who feared Israel in the time of war may align with their enemies. He did not know Joseph, meaning he did not remember or refused to recognize Joseph's achievements as Acts 7:17-19 elaborates on this. Pharaoh enslaves the Israelites and afflicts them with cruel labor, forcing them to toil in the fields, gathering straw and make bricks to build great cities.

Exod.1:15-16 most believe is Amenhotep I issued the command to kill the first born sons so there will be no offspring of Jews. This was also done in Gen. 6 for a different reason, to corrupt the seed of the Messiah; now the enemy uses a king to destroy a nation, Satan knows its time for a deliverer.

Israel finds themselves in enslavement because their nation became a strong in numbers and strength (Exod.1:8-14) Pharaoh is so afraid they may join with their enemies that he makes them slaves so they will be too tired to have babies.

V.17-19 the Hebrew midwives Shiprah (means one that does good) and Puah (means mouth) are told to kill all the males and let the females live. But they “feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do, they let the boys live.” As a result “God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own” (vs. 20-2 1). Pharaoh’s order was to save the women, because no deliverer will come from a female and every male child born to the Hebrews was to be cast into the Nile and drowned. If they had obeyed Pharaoh the chosen deliverer of Israel would have died. Preserving life takes priority over indiscriminate murder, even if it is ordered by the king of the land.

V.22 Because of Pharaohs command is to drown the sons that later when God judges Egypt that the same way and it will be his own people’s fate drowned in the Red sea. One Hebrew baby at three months old is placed in a little ark and hid him among the reeds of the river by his mother Yocheved.

Moses is found by Pharaoh’s daughter, and taken out of the sea that all the male babies are drowned in. Pharaoh’s daughter calls him “Moses”, which means “I drew him forth from the water.” Rescued by Pharaohs daughter he is brought up in the royal house. God is at work throughout this whole time bringing His purpose to come to pass.

The book of Exodus is broken up into three parts; the bondage, the Exodus from Egypt into the wilderness, and God’s law, the tabernacle and the priesthood.

Moses comes to the age of 40 and Exod. 2:11 says “Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren.” He kills the Egyptian to protect his brethren and ends up running away the next day when he finds the story is spreading among the people.

After Moses flees Egypt because he becomes a shepherd in the desert, god has got him where he wants. 40 more years go by. D.L. Moody said of Moses “he spent 40 years thinking he was a somebody, 40 years learning he was a nobody then the next 40 years discovering what God can do with a nobody.” Sometimes you can learn a lot more away from everyone than being busy among them.

While shepherding the flock he is on a mountain he sees a thornbush that is burning but not consumed and it catches his eye, as he approaches his name is called out twice and told he is on holy ground. In Ex.3:2 that the identity of this angel that has been with Israel throughout their formation becomes clear. “And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.”V.4 “And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush. In v. 6 This angel identifies himself as “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” The Lord introduces Himself as the God of the Abrahamic Cov as well as the God of Abrahams lineage Isaac and Jacob. This is not new plan, but simply the outworking of the old plan, revealed to Abraham in Genesis 12 and 15.

For 400 years God’s hand was not seen (Exod. 1 and 2), he seemed distant, removed, uninvolved in their lives, but he is directly concerned and involved in Israel’s destiny. God’s hidden hand has been working providentially to preserve His people and to prepare them for a spectacular release. God emphasizes to Moses that He is taking a personal interest in the release of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage saying “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Exod.3:10 The lord says I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people out and he will be with him. This is the last place Moses wants to go back to.v.13-14 Moses asks what name will he tell Israel he is coming in. Why would the Israelites need to ask the name of the God who has sent Moses to deliver them? Because they were in a land that worshiped other (Egyptian) gods of which some of them adopted, as Joshua states in chapter 24:14. So they may be wondering which of their gods is answering their prayers. After all 400 years have passed.

God says, “I AM who I AM” (Exod.3:14) this is my name forever, meaning the God who is self existent the eternal unchangeable God (Isa. 43:1-3). So he tells Moses “say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you (Exod 3:14) In Hebrew eyeh asher eyeh In the present indicative active form of the verb “to be.” Meaning, what is true of His being before, is true of Him today, that He has no change from eternity past to eternity future. The Greek Septuagint translates it as: Egoo eimi ho oon, I am the existing One.

The divine name of Yahweh was known long before (Gen 4:1), this revelation seems to emphasize that the God who made the covenant with their forefathers was the God who keeps the covenant. God is a declaring his divine control of all things, that He is in himself the self-existing, self sufficient one, He being the cause of all things, I cause them to comes to pass. The repetition of the same word suggests the idea of uninterrupted continuance and boundless duration (Ewald, 313a).

In application he is telling Moses I’m your all in all, the covenant keeping God, I will be what ever you need me to be, I will be your deliverer, sustainer. This is one of the most significant chapters in all of Exodus, and maybe the Bible until the New Testament, for here Moses receives his commission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, and God reveals his name along with his covenant (Gen.12:1-4) for the first time together.

God tells Moses he is to go to Pharaoh and say the “God of the Hebrews has met with us; and now, please, let us go three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.”’ But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand. “So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go.” And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. “But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians”(Exod. 3:18-22).

Moses is to bring the whole nation back to Mt. Sinai the Mount of God where he saw the burning bush so they can serve God there, and have freedom from their slavery. They will be given a day of rest as well for the hundreds of years they suffered.

Mt. Horeb remains a mystery even today although some archeologist say they have discovered a mountain that is charred on the top with strange writings at its base. No one has actually proven which mountain this all happened on.

Moses begins to argues with God; But I am not eloquent! (Exod. 4:10; 6:12,30). He seems to come up with some valid excuses. But God’s commands are his enablements. God could certainly give him this ability at any time. Moses could have spoke badly and God could have had Pharaoh hear him differently, just as at Pentecost they heard them all speak in their own languages even though they were not known to the apostles. Many a prophet had complained of their calling or in ability. Rather than acting on the basis of whom God is-- by faith, Moses is retreating on the premise that he is not a gifted communicator.

Stephen describes Moses’ abilities as “educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action” (Acts 7:21-22). Moses did not have a speech problem when he was in Egypt. According to Stephen, Moses was able. Yet he says I am slow of speech: literally ‘heavy of mouth.’ This vividly expresses the frustration of the man who knows that he cannot speak. He is blamed for making excuses, not necessarily because the reasons he gives are untrue, but because they indicate lack of confidence and faith. Moses is refusing to believe God and obey in faith. Maybe being away from the culture and in the desert he did not trust in the slightest his own abilities, but neither should he deny the abilities which God has given him. Certainly to face Pharaoh, and make such a request to probably the most powerful king in that time period would make anyone’s knees buckle.

Yet the same promise is for every believer who is bought before kings. Lk.21:12-16 when you are brought before kings and rulers for my sake the Lord will fill our mouths to what to say. We don’t have to plan it, he will give us the exact words needed, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver”(Prov. 25:11).

Please send somebody else Moses argues (Exod. 4:13). Here is the bottom line. Moses does not want to go. It is not that he lacks the assurance or the authority; he was apprehensive, he simply lacks the courage to act. Almost every prophet argued against their calling.

If Moses was afraid of the presence of God in the burning bush before (Exod. 4:6), one can hardly imagine the fear which Moses had at this point, as the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses--God is not subject to carnal displays of passion; but he does show emotion. Disbelieving God makes him angry, that is not faith but doubt especially if He is present before you. V.14-15 To build Moses’ confidence he gives him a demonstration of power that he will have. The Lord being gracious explains to Moses in no little detail what will happen Exod 4:21-23 “And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.” Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD: “Israel is My son, My firstborn.”So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.’” This becomes very significant in typology as Israel is Gods son collectively, Christ is his only eternal individual son.

There are 4 I wills in God’s promise to Moses (as there was to Abraham) found in Exod.6:6-8. Exod. 6:6 “I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians”v.7 “I will take you as My people, and I will be your God” V.7-8 “And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the LORD.’”

Moses goes back to Egypt to the elders of Israel first to tell them the good news. He then with Aaron goes to Pharaoh telling him “Thus says the Lord God of Israel let my people go that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness” (Exod.5:1). Pharaoh increases Israel’s workload showing contempt to Moses and His God. When he refused, a series of ten plagues began.

The 9 plagues can be grouped into a series of 3 sets, and one grand finale. They took approximately 6 months from the first to the tenth. Each set is composed of 3 plagues. 2 of each set comes with a warning, the third set of 3 there is no warning. Moses stood before Pharaoh in the morning for the first of each set. The last plague of each sequence (3, 6, and 9) comes unannounced and without the warnings of the others.

Each time Moses and Aaron stood before Pharaoh and demanded the release of the Israelites his heart became harder.

The signs were all “plague-like.” He had been warned each time of the nature of the divine judgment which he could and would inflict on Egypt. The plagues only affect the Egyptians, and leaving the Israelites protected and untouched.

These signs were to strengthen Moses’ faith, convince Israel of Moses’ commission and God’s power over all. And they were to show Pharaoh the superiority of Israel’s God.

The purposes of the plagues 1.To free Israel 2.to punish Egypt 3.To show that idolatry is false and punish over 80 Gods of Egypt. Every plague was a judgment on the gods of Egypt. 4.To show Egypt that YHWH alone is God; Israel’s God is God of all Gods 5. To show Pharaoh that Israel are His people.

This plague of darkness struck hard at the Egyptian deities Egypt became the illustration of God’s divine anger and judgment. Israel had light showing Gods grace. This plague was aimed at one of the chief Egyptian deities, the sun god Ra, of whom Pharaoh was a representation being the incarnation of horus ra’s son. Ra was responsible for providing sunlight, warmth, and productivity protect them from darkness. Other gods, including Horus, were associated with the sun, the winged sun God. Nut, the goddess of the sky, would have been humiliated by this plague. Atumn -God of the setting sun Harakhte- Sun God, Aton - Sun God, Khephre the moon god, Thoth- Moon God, Shu -Sky God, Atum- God of the setting sun.

In typology the New Testament repeats many of the judgments of the plagues in Exodus. God sent the plagues in Exodus, He will send them in the tribulation, to turn His people Israel back to him, because they have entered into a peace covenant with the antichrist and not looked to him for their peace.

The plague of darkness leads to the last judgment as God said from the beginning the first born sons. As Egypt killed the firstborn sons of Israel they will be repaid in perfect justice. God certainly did not want to go through with all the 10 or he would not have asked for his people to be let go each time before He poured out the next plague. But He already knew what the outcome was to be as he told Moses before he was sent.

Israel will get back all that they work for as slaves, as God instructs Moses to “collect,” the wages the Israelites had earned in Egypt. They will leave Egypt wealthy (Exod. 3:21-22). This was to be accomplished by asking the Egyptian women for articles of silver and gold. The wealth of the wicked is laid up for the righteous, when God puts it in the hands of those who were oppressed by the wicked.

The last instruction was to Israel for the last judgment on Egypt. In 1445 B.C the Israelites were required to slay a spotless lamb and apply its blood to the doorposts of their home. That was their part. God’s part “...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).

The typology of the lamb began with Abraham who was asked to sacrifice his only son on mount Moriah, God stopped him and Abraham prophesied God will provide a lamb [literally provide himself a lamb.] What released Israel from slavery and bondage was the blood of the lamb. A lamb with no defect, innocent, and under a year old; a type of Christ in the prime of life.

Moses is told to roast the lamb whole, (tradition says on a wooded stick standing upright with a crosspiece of wood through its inside) they were to eat the lamb with unleaven bread and bitter herbs. This is a holy season to continue for 7 days; Passover being the first night of unleaven bread. 7 days of unleaven bread- 7 is a symbolic number of completion in the Bible, there were 6 days in creation made by God who is sinless, and on the seventh day God rested from his work. When we know the Messiah we enter into His rest that was accomplished on the cross as our Passover sacrifice.

The last judgment of the firstborn was appropriate justice from God, since the Egyptians began seeking to kill all of the male babies of a generation born to the Israelites (Exod. 1:22). They were trying to stop the redeemer. We see the typology in the New Testament with Herod killing the firstborn males to stop the redeemer Christ.

Mt.1:7-8 when the magi came to Israel to worship Yeshua, Herod’s intention was to find him to kill him. Herod asked them to come back and tell him where he is so he too can worship. They disobeyed Herod because God warned them in a dream vs.12. Mt.1:13 God warns Mary and Joseph to flee to Egypt to preserve the child’s life. Yeshua as the deliverer is to be called out of Egypt like Moses the deliverer to ultimately fulfill the scripture “out of Egypt I gave called my son” (Mt.2:15;Hosea.11:1). Everywhere the Jewish people (as God’s son) did not succeed Yeshua (God’s only begotten Son) will. To give an example of this typology: Israel is the national Son of God, they failed in their testing in the wilderness. Yeshua as the true Son of God succeeded in his testing when he fasted 40 days representing the 40 years Israel failed in the wilderness.

On the night before Passover eve, a search was made for any leaven that might have been overlooked. In Judaism you have a ritual where the head of the household search’s for any remaining leaven with a lit candle and a feather and a spoon in complete silence. If he finds any leaven, he either locks it away where it would not be touched until after the Passover takes the kids out and burns it with a prayer of repentance as a family. The head of the house repeats an ancient prayer, which Orthodox Jews still do today: “All leaven that is in my possession, that which I have seen and that which I have not seen, be it null, be it accounted as the dust of the earth.” Before Passover they had leaven after the Passover there was to be no sin, but a new life.

Alfred Edersheim wrote of this search: “Jewish tradition sees a reference to [this] searching out of the leaven in Zephaniah 1:12.” Speaking of judgment, God said in that verse: “I will search out Jerusalem with candles,” meaning He will search out the leaven of sin and destroy it. (The Temple, Its Ministry and Services as They Were at the Time of Yeshua Christ, p. 220.)

Unleaven bread is void of yeast, yeast is symbolic of sin more specifically Yeshua said false teaching “Beware the yeast of the Pharisees.” “Know ye not, that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Leaven puffs up it has no value nutritional value, so when you take out the leaven the only thing you have left is a counter bread called matza, Its unleaven. If you have seen matza it is striped and it is pierced, in the Talmud, the Rabbis say the Matza corresponds to the flesh of the Lamb. Rabbi Paul wrote to the Church 1 Cor. 5:7: Cleanse out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened.

Paul describes the unleaven bread as Christ the fulfillment. “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.”

As believers Christ is our Passover lamb. 1Co 5:8: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth.” Matzoh, is unleavened bread, tastes sweet symbolizing the sweet and pure life without sin when we have the Messiah.

The Exodus

Exod. 12:40-41 “Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years-- on that very same day-- it came to pass that all the armies of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.” So the promise in 15:12-14 was fulfilled to Abraham.

In Genesis Jacobs sons totaled 70 who went to Egypt; from the 70 they went to nearly 1 and a half million leaving in the Exodus. That’s the population of Hawaii and then some. So God fulfilled the promise that He would make them a great nation to Abraham (Gen.12:2.)

After Israel left Egypt to be led toward the Promised land the lord gave them 7 feasts that were tied to their calendar, they were to continually keep. These are found in Lev.23 “These are My appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies” (Leviticus 23:2). The Hebrew word for feast is mo’ed, it means 'a set or appointed time. These are seven windows which we can glimpse God's divine plan from the death of the Lord Yeshua ha Mashiach (Jesus Christ) through to His second  coming and millennial reign on the earth. These were broken up into 2 cycles-- the spring season grouped of 4 feast --a summer break to prepare for the fall harvest and the 3 fall feasts. Four of these feasts have already been fulfilled; three are yet to be fulfilled. So here we have a snapshot of what God has already done and prophetic insight of what is yet to come. This is known as the former and latter rain with a 4 month interval that relates to Jn.4:35-36 with the fields being white unto harvest, a summer harvest representing the church age, the time of the gentiles, a time of grace. These were types of Christ as Paul states in Col.2:17 they are a shadow of things to come. Christ came, he is the substance; the law was the pattern, Christ the reality, the fulfillment. The feasts are symbolic of Christ. The unleaven bread was Christ with no sin. The Passover - Christ sacrificed as the lamb. The first-fruits his resurrection 3 days after the Passover. Pentecost Yeshua sending the Holy Spirit. All of these were fulfilled in Yeshua’ first coming. The fall feasts are, feast of trumpets, Day of atonement, feasts of Booths or gatherings, all to be fulfilled in his 2nd coming.

God established a calendar for Israel so certain Holy seasons would have spiritual significance. The whole Old Testament with its teaching on the Tabernacle, the law and its feast days were given so that Israel could recognize who the messiah is, they were types of Christ (shadows of the Messiah who is the true light).

The killing of a lamb becomes the means of rescue, the means of redemption. Without the shedding of blood there would have been no redemption. For 3,500 years they were told to remember this feast as a memorial. The Bible tells us that the Passover month, Nisan is to be first month of their calendar (Exodus 12:2); by this they would always remember God’s deliverance by the blood of the lamb.

Each family was to be responsible for its own sacrificial animal, and placing the blood on the doorframe, and its own celebration of the meal. [It is possible Some Egyptians could have celebrated the first Passover, because of previous warnings given with the other judgments (Exod.9:18-21)]. God gave instructions concerning the future observance of Passover, foreigners who placed themselves under the Abrahamic Covenant (by circumcision) were allowed to participate, there were to be no distinctions made between them and (other) Israelites (Exod.12:43-49). Showing God intended His salvation to be offered to all people beginning with the Jewish people.

Each family killed their Passover lamb where they were about to sprinkle the blood. The basin was a ditch dug just in front of the doorway of the house to avoid flooding. The blood from the lamb ran into the depression (the basin) at the doors threshold. The blood was applied by they’re dipping the hyssop into a basin of blood it was not to be touched by hands. The blood was painted first on the lintel, the top and each side post. Giving the sign of the lamb (Jesus-Yeshua) pierced on the cross. Just as in the Passover in the New Testament the blood only works when it is applied; it was applied only once.

God included everyone in the death sentence in Exodus 11:5: “All the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die.” God must do the right thing because He is God, He must balance His righteousness with His love and mercy. He has decreed judgment on all sin and sinners; but he made provision by His mercy.

After the Israelites slain a spotless lamb and applied its blood to the doorposts of their home and went behind the door then the Passover came; the Passover lamb meant that God passed over the blood-sprinkled door on the houses in Egypt, but judged only those who did not have the blood applied. “And it came to pass at midnight that the Lord smote all the firstborn in the Land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on the throne to the firstborn of the prisoner who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock”(Exodus 12:29).

Once the house was painted they were to go behind the blood painted door to be safe until morning comes. We are to stay behind the blood until Christ comes again. The Lord struck them dead, at the midnight hour.

Yeshua says John 10:1-8 “I am the door. Anyone who does not enter by me is a thief and a robber.” “I AM THE DOOR, BY ME IF ANY MAN ENTER IN, HE SHALL BE SAVED AND GO IN AND OUT TO FIND PASTURE. Here we again see the symbolism; when man was first driven out of the garden a cherubim was placed at the east of Eden, and to guard the way back in, there was only one way in (Gen 3:24). During the Exodus journey all the tribes of Israel camped around the tabernacle where the sacrificial blood of atonement would be brought. There was only one way into the Tabernacle, and it was through the tribe of Judah camping at the entrance located on the east. Yeshua is of the tribe of Judah, the door, and the way.

The Passover meal was largely provided by the Passover sacrifice. The animal was to be roasted whole over the fire, not boiled or eaten raw. This symbolized the wrath of God’s burning anger against sin. Each household was to eat the meal inside the door on which the animal’s blood had been placed. The meat was eaten along with bitter herbs and unleavened bread (Exod.12:8). Surplus food was not to be kept overnight, but was to be burned (12:10). There would be no “leftovers.” It was all to be consumed which explains John 6:53, when Yeshua (Jesus) said to them, “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” The Passover was a shadow of the true sacrifice and spiritual significance Christ had. We are to have a life completely consumed to the Lord.

Christ our Passover is sacrificed

Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread were one of the three most important annual feasts of Israel. In Yeshua’ time 100,000 pilgrims came to Jerusalem from all over, they all ate the Passover at homes. The week before his crucifixion Yeshua came into Jerusalem and all the people are praising him with the hallel ps.118 baruch ha bab ha shem adonai BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD and the Pharisees reacted saying to him, tell the people to be quiet. Luke 19 then yeshua says “if these remain silent the rocks would cry out.” Yeshua said the Jews don’t proclaim him as Messiah the gentiles, (the Christians) will! John the baptizer also said to his brethren God can raise up Abraham’s children out of the stones, so did Yeshua-- and he did.

If someone bought a lamb outside the Temple, he had to bring it to be inspected by the priests on the Temple grounds to see if it was without spot or blemish. The priests of Yeshua’s time almost always managed to find some kind of imperfection on the animal brought to them, so the family was offered to buy a certified lamb from the priests. When Yeshua entered Jerusalem He went straight to the temple. Mal. 3 states the Lord will suddenly come to his temple. Surprise, Yeshua walks in and shuts down their illegal operation of making merchandise off the blood of the lamb, selling the sacrifices for exorbitant prices. Yeshua’ reaction-- what are you doing in God's house? You're supposed to be cleansing your hearts for this season! This is supposed to be a house of prayer Instead you're perverting the things of God, you have made it a den of thieves!

Here we find the first type of Christ to help Israel recognize their Messiah (He is unleaven bread). From the 10th to 14th of Nisan there is 4 days inspection in preparation for the Passover lamb slain on the 14th. The Sanhedrin would inspect the lambs on the temple grounds for up to 74 different defects, spots or blemishes. If nothing is found they would take the lamb out and say it could be sacrificed for the Pesach, for the Passover.

This was fulfilled by Yeshua by his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the lamb of God was revealed to Israel. Malachi 3 “the Lord will suddenly comes to His temple.” On the 10th day Yeshua is set apart and questioned by the scribes Pharisees, Saducees, Scribes, Herodians. The inspection of the lamb took place all that week at the temple. For 4 days Yeshua visited the temple and was under fire with questions from the religious establishment. While he was being inspected for spot and blemish by the Pharisees and Sadducees he was inspecting them and the state of the temple. This became His last public discourse which ends his public ministry.

Yeshua was separated four days before sacrifice; the same length of time the lambs were under examination on the temple grounds. Yeshua forced them to inspect him and they could find nothing wrong with the lamb. The very day when the Sanhedrin were out inspecting the lambs they put Yeshua on trial to find sin and found no sin in him, being innocent of any accusations they brought him to be crucified, not knowing they were fulfilling the inspection of the lamb the very day of his trial and the Passover lamb for his crucifixion. The sacrificial lamb was to be without defect (Exod. 12:5), just as the apostle Peter who was Jewish states, 1 Pet 1:18-19 “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

Today’s Passover meal

So we come to the Passover of our day. Passover in Hebrew is pesach--the paschal meal was on the evening of the 14th Nisan, and the seven days following are called the feast of Unleavened Bread (Lev 23:5-6). Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread are a unit and part of the three most important annual feasts of Israel.

Rabbi Gamaliel, the teacher of Paul the apostle, said (Pes. x. 15): ‘Whoever does not explain three things in the Passover has not fulfilled the duty and do the people a disservice. These three things are: the Passover lamb, the matzoh unleaven bread the bitter herbs. The meal was a family matter and became a communal celebration for the nation of Israel.

In today’s Passover meal the first item on the Passover tray is the shank bone of a lamb Hebrew--(z'roah) meaning arm representing the strong outstretched arm of the Lord by which he freed his people from Egyptian bondage. It is the same word translated “arm” in Isaiah 53:1: “Who has believed our report and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” According to the ancient rabbis, when the Hebrew Scriptures referred to the z'roah of the Lord, it was a messianic reference. As believers with Christ our Passover we have all been rescued by the arm of the Lord.

Isaiah also said, “he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter” Isa 53:7. There was to be no bone broken on the Passover lamb (Exod. 12:46), no bone of our Lord was broken on the cross (John 19:32-36).

There are 4 cups drank throughout the evening of Passover. The third cup (this wine must be blood-red), it is called the cup of redemption. It is taken with a small piece of unleavened bread. The bread is part of what is called the afikomen ceremony that was hidden during the ceremony but later found.

The Passover sedar is an illustrative ceremony that needs to be seen and participated in as much as it is to be told. In the passover ceremony they have what is called the aphikomen which is 3 pieces of Matzoh which are thin wafers of unleaven bread, wrapped in a white linen cloth container with 3 compartments. The standard Jewish explanation of the three matzohs is that it represents Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob or the priests, (kohanon) the Levites, and the people of Israel. Some modern interpretations are our thoughts, our speech and our actions. But none of these can adequately explain why the middle matzoh is taken out of the linen, broken (called the bread of affliction) and the removal of the middle bread is hidden in another white linen. We have a hint, in the Talmud, the Rabbis say the Matzoh corresponds to the flesh of the Lamb.

The requirements for this bread are:

1) It was to be flat-No leaven-Leaven is a symbol of sin- This speaks of Yeshua who is unleaven, a symbol of sinless nature. To Messianic Jews the Passover bread represents Yeshua the bread of life. Ps. 34:8 “taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.” The Hebrew word matzo (unleavened) means “sweet, without sourness.” The unleavened bread signifies a life of sweetness and wholesomeness, without sin. It foreshadows the sinless, perfect life of the Messiah, who would come to fulfill all righteousness.

2) It was to be striped -Yeshua was whipped and scourged and struck in death; by his stripes we are healed from sin.

3) It was to be pierced -We are to be able to see light through the Matzoh bread. Yeshua was pierced through his body by nails in his hands, feet, and a spear in the side. Zechariah says: “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced” (Zech. 12:10). Isa. 53:4 “yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.v:7 “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; he was led as a lamb to the slaughter”

Isa.63:8-9 “...So He became their Savior. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel (messenger)of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old.”

After the Seder meal a search is made for the Afikomen (the broken Matzah) by the children, the one who finds it will receive a reward. The rabbis say that the Afikomen is important because the Seder cannot end until each participant has eaten a small piece of it. In doing so they are remembering the lamb.

The piece called the aphikomen is the dessert. The word means “that which comes later” or the one who comes again. This shows his resurrection and being eaten as his life shared with all who believe. The Hebrew word matzo (unleavened) means “sweet, without sourness.” The unleavened bread foreshadowed the sinless, perfect life of the Messiah, who would come to fulfill all the righteous requirements of the law of Moses. John 6:35 Yehua said, “I am the bread of life; he that comes to me shall never hunger, and he that believes on me shall never thirst.”

The finding of the broken matzah in the Seder is timed with the third cup, called the cup of redemption is significant.

To Messianic Jews the matzot explains the triune nature of the one God. It is seen as the Father, the Son (middle matzoh who came to earth is broken), and the Holy Spirit (the comforter sent after Yeshua left). The ceremony describes the gospel, the death burial and resurrection the middle matzah is removed from the bag showing Yeshua came to earth was broken and wrapped in strips of cloth being buried in a tomb hidden from our view.

Yeshua used the aphikomen to represent not only the Passover lamb, but His own body. “And as they were eating, Yeshua took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Yeshua celebrating the Passover with His disciples instituted communion. He took the unleavened bread, symbolic of His pure and spotless body, and the cup, representing His blood. The cup He took was the third cup, the cup of redemption and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sin (Mt 26:27-28).

Toward the end of the Passover Seder the Hallel in Ps.118 is sung where king David prophesied of the lamb tied to the altar of wood. Ps 118:27-28 “God is the LORD, and He has given us light; bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will praise You; you are my God, I will exalt You.”

Yeshua was introduced to begin His ministry around the Passover time as the lamb of God (Jn.2:13) and he would end His ministry as the lamb of God on the Passover (Jn.18:39; Lk.22:15).

Yeshua did not drink the fourth cup; He said he would not drink it until He drinks it new with us in His Father's Kingdom. Luke 22:15-16: And he said to them, I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I say to you, I will not any more eat of it until it shall be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

On the same mountain where the typology of the lamb began with Abraham who was asked to sacrifice his only son, God stopped him and Abraham prophesied God will provide a lamb, literally provide himself a lamb. The lamb was provided in God’s “only son.” Showing us that no one loves us more than the one who sent his most precious possession to die in our place so we can have freedom from sin. This is the true meaning of the Passover and first fruits, that is our celebration of the gospel, Christ’s death burial and resurrection

Paul writes in 1 Cor 15:20 “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” The feast of the first fruits would occur on the first day of the week (this would be Sunday) the high priest would go near dawn, at prior to sunrise into the Kidron valley that is between the mount of Olives and Zion the temple mount. He‘d go into the Kidron valley precisely at sunrise and look for first bit of the grain offering coming out of the earth. And exactly at sunrise he would ceremoniously harvest this first sprout of grain and bring it into the temple and wave it before the Lord. All four gospels tell us Yeshua rose at about dawn, the very time the high priest was bringing the first fruit into the temple Yeshua became first fruit of the resurrection. Christ fulfilled all that was necessary for the people to recognize him as the messiah, the choice was theirs then it is yours now.

The Communion which we celebrate today proclaims the death, burial and resurrection of our savior. This was the Passover service Israel celebrated for 1,500 years before the Messiahs time. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.” Jesus identifies the symbols as being Himself, and promises -that HE IS COMING AGAIN.

Yeshua said, “it is finished at his sacrificial death;” all that was practiced as the sacrificial system in Judaism has been removed by the lamb that was slain once and for all. He has come and He is coming again to fulfill all that was written of Him, with the communion we proclaim what he has done in the past and this future event of His coming.

 

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