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The first feast of the Israelites
pastor corner

By Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke.

The Feast of the Lord’s Passover: “These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S Passover” (Lev 23:4-5).

The explicit directions for this sacrificial offering were given by God to satisfy the requirements of His justice and holiness. First, the time was set to be on the fourteenth day of the first month. Our very calendar uses the designation of Anno Domino (year of our Lord). God Himself has stamped His signature upon time itself.

The second reference to time involved the selection of the Lamb on the 10th day of the month, but was not offered until the 14th day. The Apostle Peter has told us, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2Pe 3:8). These four days that the lamb was kept represented the four thousand years the world waited for the Savior of the world to be born and then die. “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8). The waiting time of four days has also been said to represent the approximately 3-4 years of Christ ministry upon the earth. At the appointed time, Christ, called the Lamb of God by John the Baptist and others, was slain for the sins of this world.

Notice also that Ex. 12:6 quotes the Lord as saying the “it” (the lamb) would be kept until the 14th day, and the whole congregation should kill “it.” We know that thousands of lambs were killed that first night, but in God’s perspective there was only one, the Lamb of God slain at Calvary. Their many lambs represented the Lamb of God.

The lambs chosen to be sacrificed at the Lord’s Passover were required to be without blemish. “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep,…” (Ex. 12:5). Nothing but a perfect sacrifice could satisfy the moral and holy commandments of God’s justice. One sinner could not die for another. He would be unable to atone for the sins of another. God could be glorified only by that which was holy and sin free. Listen to the words of God, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matt. 3:17).

Only a blood sacrifice could meet the demands of God’s justice. “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb. 9:22).

However, it must be blood from a sin-free individual, and only one person qualified. No one had ever been able to obtain righteousness by the Law of Moses, but One did satisfy all claims of the Law and the Prophets. He met the representatives of the Law and the Prophets on the mount of Transfiguration, and received the blessing of the Father.

Abraham told his son Isaac that the Lord would provide Himself a sacrifice, and He did at Calvary. Calvary wasn’t just about man, but was more about God. The Lamb was God’s sacrifice, and even if no one ever believed on Christ as savior, I feel Jesus would have still died on the cross. This sacrifice glorified God’s character, it vindicated His throne, satisfied His justice, and magnified His holiness.

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom.24-26).

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