I want to continue my series of messages on the feast of Passover. As I shared last week that the account of Pesach covers four Torah portions; Sh’mot – Names Va’era, (He appeared) Bo (Enter) and B’Shalach (When he let go). Last week we looked at the first two: Sh’mot and Va’era and the meaning of each one. Sh’mot comes from the word Shem or name and the name HaShem speaks of one name of God as the Name. It is the name for Exodus. It was God’s purpose not only to deliver Israel from their bondage but to also make His name known and exalted among Israel, Egypt and the nations. God chose Israel as nation to make Himself known. He did this by appearing (Va’era) to His people in great signs wonders and in awesome power. At no other time in world history has God ever appeared in such a dramatic way and with such astounding power as He did 4000 years ago. Deut. 4:32- 35?
We know that God will yet appear again, and many of us believe that it will be in our generation. Last week I shared that there is a striking parallel with Israel’s exodus from Egypt and the book of Revelation. This end time book has a powerful Passover imagery associated with it. I believe that the feast of Passover will yet have some end time prophetic significance that will parallel on a world wide scale many of the events and types of judgments that were witnessed 4000 years ago.
In fact as I was preparing for this message the Lord deeply impressed upon me that there is also a striking parallel with what happened in Egypt and what is happening today among our brethren in Israel. Even though 400 years of painful slavery is a far cry from 53 years of suffering that Israel has experienced since becoming a modern day nation there is a great similarity.
Israel today is a people and a nation facing tremendous trials and suffering like their spiritual ancestors. They are a people groaning, suffering, being afflicted on all sides from their enemies, who are seeking to destroy them. In a very real sense they are once again being held in slavery in bondage to fear. This past week, a Palestinian gunned down an Israeli baby being held in his father’s arms and then he shot the father as well. In response Israel retaliated with intense bombings in Hebron, Ramallah and Gaza.
It is becoming a vicious circle of death. Israel is a people crying out and desperate for peace when there is none. God spoke in Deut. 28 of the punishment that would upon the Jewish people if they disobeyed Him. Vs. 58-60, 66-7.
Just as God heard the cry of His people in Egypt He hears the cries of our people today. The same words that God spoke to the Israelites in Egypt could be spoken today.
Ex. 3:7- I have surely seen the affliction of my people. I have heard their cry. I am aware of their sufferings. … Ex. 6:5- I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage and I have remembered my covenant.
Some time ago, I shared from Psalm 83:1-5 of how Israel’s enemies have made a covenant of death against Israel. But God said I have remembered my covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, a covenant of life and blessing.
I believe that during this years Passover many Jewish people worldwide and especially those in Israel, will have a deeper connection and identification with the suffering of our spiritual ancestors. Israel today is crying out for a deliverer like Moses, one who will come and bring peace and a solution to all the problems facing their nation. And yet we see that God, as he did in Egypt is allowing the trials and the suffering, and the affliction to come upon Israel for a purpose. It is like plagues of death are being poured out upon the children of Israel today. God is hardening the heart of Arafat, as He did with Pharaoh so that one day God will once again make himself known in the eyes of Israel, Israel’s enemies and all the nations of the earth. Israel is once again being prepared for the coming of their great deliverer. They are waiting for a modern day Moses who was type of the Messiah who was to come.
I believe that God will once again visit our generation as He did in days of old. Ezek. 38:18-23 The Gog-Magog war when many of the Islamic nations will make war against Israel?
Now let’s look into the Torah. The third Torah portion- Bo-means enter. It represented Israel’s path and entrance into freedom. The word Bo or enter appears in the first verse of this Parasha. In the Hebrew part of vs. 1 says – Vayomer, Adonai, el Moshe Bo el Pharot – And said the Lord to Moshe enter! Go to Pharaoh because I hardened his heart.
The name for each Parasha is usually found in the first few verses of each portion. Since this Parasha is the most significant one of the four, I realized it would be too difficult to try and do both of them today so I will just speak on Bo today and next week conclude with the fourth Parasha B’Shalach- when he let go. It will coincide with the eve of Pesach. There are ten events that took place in this Torah portion.
Bo – Exodus 10:1-13:16
- God’s purpose in hardening pharaohs heart
- Plague of locusts
- Plague of deep darkness
- Pharaoh responds with his own conditions
- God’s promise of Judgment
- The final plague, death of the firstborn
- The instructions of the Passover lamb
- A nation is judged
- Israel plunders the Egyptians
- Israel’s path to freedom
There are three final plagues mentioned in this Parasha, the plague of locusts, the plague of darkness and the death of the firstborn. In Exodus 10:1,2 God revealed His purpose in hardening Pharaoh’s heart. So that God may perform His signs among them and demonstrate that He alone is God and there is no other.
When Moses announced this eighth plague we read that pharaoh’s heart began to waver. His officials pleaded with him to let the Hebrews go and vs. 7 -12 but it was not God’s will for him to let Israel go, until the final plague was poured out.
God then sent a terrible plague of locusts upon the land, to consume everything that had not been destroyed by the other plagues. After the eighth plague Egypt as a nation was completely stripped bare. They had to declare a national disaster.
God then sent the ninth plague, a plague of darkness. This plague was aimed at the Egyptian sun god, Amon-Re. It was believed that this god was the source of heat, light and creativity, the very symbol of cosmic order in Egypt. This time Moses extends his hand without the staff and a thick darkness so heavy that it could be felt covered Egypt for three days and nights. It must have been terrifying to experience such darkness that it could be felt. We read in this plague that God made a distinction with the children of Israel 10:23- All the sons of Israel had light in their dwellings. The children of Israel did not experience all the plagues of Egypt. It must have been an astronomical phenomenon, that the darkness could not penetrate the light in Goshen. Was it light a wall of darkness that could be seen in Goshen?
God made a distinction between Israel and Egypt with the plagues.
“I will make a difference between my people and your people…so that you may know that the Lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.”
God protected His people through the judgment of these plagues, as I believe He will protect us from the judgment that is coming upon all the earth. He will make a distinction in these last days between those who are His, and those who are not.
God’s work in Pharaoh’s heart was almost accomplished. God purpose was to harden Pharaoh’s heart one last time. You have heard the expression it is always darkest before the dawn. It was out of this deep darkness that covered Egypt that God pierced through the darkness and sent the tenth and final plague, the worst of all, death of the first-born. Ex. 11:1-7.
It was during the last frightful plague, the death of every first born in the Egypt that the whole meaning of Passover unfolded. The scriptures say from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. The story of Passover is that through death came forth life. Unless a grain of wheat falls in the ground and dies… It was through the death of the first born in Egypt, that Israel entered into their freedom. But as great and powerful as the first Passover was, it was also intended to be a preparation for a greater Passover that was to come 2,000 years later, the Messiah’s Passover.
In Ex. 12, God gave detailed instructions and commandments of how the Passover was to be observed and how it was to be prepared. There were at least 16 commandments given by God in Exodus 12. Each one of these instructions foreshadowed in every detail the ultimate meaning of Passover that would be fulfilled 2,000 years later at the Messiah’s Passover. If we truly believe that Yeshua was the Passover Lamb and that this first Passover was to foreshadow His coming, then every detail of this Passover Lamb had to be fulfilled in Him. I have shared these truths in the past but I believe that we need to be reminded each year of how awe-inspiring Passover is and how it is a wonderful picture of the Messiah.
I want to share four of these examples:
- The lamb chosen was to be taken from the firstborn of the flock
- The lamb chosen was to be without spot or blemish.
- The lamb was to be slain at a specific time
- The blood was to be applied to each door.
1. FIRSTBORN OF THE FLOCK
Ex. 12:5 says “the Lamb was to be a male of the first year, from the sheep or the goats.”
The one chosen to be slain, was to be young and strong in the prime of its youth full of life and vigor. The expression first born stands for that which is most excellent. There were special privileges associated with a firstborn. He was the object of special affection and inherited certain rights and privileges. He received a double portion of the inheritance and was considered the head of the family and responsible for carrying for the needs of the family if the father or mother died. We begin to see why God chose the first-born. One of the great heartbreaks in life is for a parent to lose one of their children. A son or daughter just beginning their life, their whole future is ahead of them and then sickness or a terrible accident or tragedy strikes and they are gone. Life at that point does not seem fair. How and why could something so horrible happen?
In the case of Egypt, God singled out the firstborn for death because Pharaoh was holding God’s firstborn son captive. God said that Out of Egypt I have called my firstborn son. This was fulfilled when God poured out the final plague on the Egyptians, the death of the first born in Egypt. This was one finally pierced the heart of pharaoh and convinced him to let God’s first-born son go. It was ironic that God chose the death of every first born in Egypt as the tenth and final plague. The number ten also is significant in scripture as a number for testing, fullness of completeness. Israel tested God ten times; Daniel was tested for ten days. Ten commandments. Rev. 2:10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer, you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life. As this Passover story began in chapter 1 it was Pharaoh who was seeking to destroy all of Israel’s newborn sons. Gen. 12:3. The very curse that he brought upon Israel came back upon Him and struck his own son.
This death of the first born was also intended to point ahead to the time when God himself would give up His firstborn son as redemption for the world. John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world he gave His only begotten son… Both Passover’s spoke of God’s judgment. Israel’s Passover spoke of God’s judgment and wrath being poured out on a nation and the death of the first-born. The Messiah’s Passover spoke of God’s judgment and wrath being poured out on an innocent lamb, the only begotten Son of God. Is. 53 says that God was pleased to crush him, to put him to grief to make his soul an offering for sin. “Surely He has born our grief’s and carried out sorrows yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities.
In memory of Egypt’s firstborn and the preservation of the first born in Israel, all the firstborn of Israel are to be dedicated to God. This was known as the redemption of the first-born. Ex. 13:1,2 God says Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, whether man or beast. It is still practiced today and in fact this Thursday is called the fast of the firstborn. It is to remind Israel of their deliverance from Egypt.
2. THE LAMB CHOSEN WAS TO BE WITHOUT SPOT OR BLEMISH
The Passover lamb was to be chosen on the 10th. of Nisan and inspected for four days until the 14th. day of Nisan. Ex. 12: 5,3 “Your lamb shall be without blemish a male of the first year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the 10th day of this month each man is to take a lamb. Take care of the lamb until the 14th. day of the month when the community of Israel must slaughter them.
According to Jewish writings, there was a 50-point inspection that the priest was required to follow in choosing a lamb. In Lev. 22;22 it says, that the animal chosen was to have no defects. Do not offer to the Lord, the blind, the injured, the maimed, anything with sores, bruises or cuts. It is not to be deformed or stunted.” God wants our very best sacrifice. How does this point to the Messiah? Mark 11:11 -Yeshua’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem was on the Saturday evening after the Sabbath, the first day of the week, which corresponded to the 10th. Day of Nisan. It was the following morning, (Palm Sunday) that Yeshua went into the temple and cleansed it and swept it clean of the leaven of sin.
He said, “Is it not written, my house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves. And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy him. For they feared him because all the people were astonished at his teaching.
It was over the next four days that thousands of lambs were being examined by the priests to determine any spots, blemishes or defects in order to prepare them for slaughter. It was also during this time that the Chief priest, the scribes and many of the Jewish leaders began to examine Yeshua to find fault with him, to determine if there was any spot or blemishes in his life.
In Mt. 26:59,60 it says, The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Yeshua so that they could put Him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Read Luke 23:13-16 Yeshua appeared before Pilate to be examined and Pilate said, having examined him in your presence, I have found no fault in this man.
The very redeemer and Messiah who they were praying and seeking for was standing in their presence and yet they did not recognize him. Isn’t it ironic that during these four days as they were examining the Passover lambs they were unknowingly examining the true Passover lamb of Israel and they could find no spot or blemishes in his life? “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
Peter said in 1 Peter 1:18,19 “We were redeemed not with silver and gold from our futile way of life, but with the precious blood of the lamb without spot or blemish.
3. THE LAMB CHOSEN WAS TO BE SLAIN AT A SPECIFIC TIME
If we believe that Yeshua had to fulfill every requirement of the Passover lamb, then He had to have been crucified as the Passover lamb at the same time the other lambs were being slain.
Ex. 12:3 says, on the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father a lamb for a household.. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.
If we take the 10th of Nisan to be the first day of the week and count four days (Sunday morning, Monday, Tuesday, you arrive at Wednesday morning when Yeshua was put on the cross to be crucified. And yet we have always been taught according to Church tradition that it was on Friday when Yeshua was crucified. If we examine the scriptures according to a Jewish understanding we come to a different conclusion.
Yeshua said in Mt. 12:40
“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the son of man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Do we take what Yeshua said literally? If we do, then a Friday crucifixion does not allow enough time for Yeshua to be in the grave. The Jewish day always begins at sundown. If you count Friday afternoon as part of one day you still come short. It only allows two days (Friday and Saturday) and two nights in the grave.
I could take much more time and explain how I came to this conclusion. I have a booklet available for sale that gives a Messianic view of the death and resurrection of the Messiah.
4. THE BLOOD MUST BE APPLIED TO THE DOOR OF EACH HOME
The Passover was a time of redemption for the Israelites but a time of unbelievable horror for the Egyptians. In Ex. 12:12 it says,
“I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast, and against the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. I am the Lord.”
In this verse we see that God said that all the firstborn would die. Yet He also said the judgment was against the gods of Egypt.
So it will be today. The coming day of the Lord will be a time of horror for the inhabitants of the earth but it will also be a day of redemption for every man, woman and child who is protected by the blood of the lamb. This judgment will also be against the gods of this world, the principalities and powers of darkness, who have undermined.
God said that the blood shall be to you for a sign upon the house 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. 12:13 . God was establishing blood as the foundation for redemption. Lev. 17:11. For the life of the flesh is in the blood…
In Israel’s Passover there is no mention of sin. The blood of the lamb was not intended to cover the sins of the Israelites. It was a sign upon the house so that when the Lord brought the judgment of death it would not come into their home. The Lord was passing through Egypt executing judgment against the gods of Egypt. The only true Passover was the first one, for on that night God brought His people out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. The redemption of Israel meant freedom, but destruction to Egypt.
So will it be when Messiah returns to liberate God’s people from the bondage of this age. The believers will be redeemed, but multitudes of people on the earth will come under God’s wrath and perish. We know that man’s only protection is the blood of the lamb. Messiah is our Passover lamb, and also our Moses. His blood was shed and only as each person applies the blood to his heart by faith will the judgment of death pass over us. When God sees the blood He has promised our Bo- our entrance into freedom. He who believes in the son has life and he who does not believe in Him does not have life. Do you have life? Today is the day of your salvation.
Part 1, Part 2, Top of Article and Part 4
written and / or assembled by Cal Goldberg, Rabbi, Beth Shechinah
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