Ex 12:12 The Lord’s Passover 4/20/2014
· Not Easter, but Passover (Acts 12:4, Ex 12:1-16)
#1. Signs and Symbols (Mat 13:10-11)
· The Hand of God (Heb 10:14, Ecc 7:20)
#2. Resurrection Sunday (Rom 4:25, Mat 27:52-53, 1Thes 4:14-17, 1Cor 15:12-21, Heb 11:1)
Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Exodus, Ex 12:1 (2X). Today we are remembering the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ almost 2000 years ago.
· Not Easter, but Passover (Acts 12:4, Ex 12:1-16)
Today is the remembrance of the feast of Passover. That is what the Bible says. No, not Easter, but Passover. What does the New Testament Greek say in Acts 12:4, which is the only place where the word Easter occurs in the English Bible? The Greek English Interlinear says that in this place the word Passover was used. As far as I know the word Easter occurs only in the English language. Go back to the language of the country of your origin.
In the Dutch language this day is called “Pasen” which is derived from the word Passover. In French it is the word Paques, derived from the word Passover. In Italian it is the word Pasqua, derived from the word Passover. In German is it called Ostern, meaning “from the East”, which may be the origin of the English word Easter. But to be on the safe side we must use the word Passover instead of Easter, because the name Easter sounds too close to the name of the goddess of love, Astarte, which is the Phoenician goddess of fertility and of sexual love. Where else does the tradition of Easter bunnies laying colored eggs come from?
There is a beautiful relationship between the Passover and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we use the word Easter this beautiful relationship is lost. So let us take God’s advice and use the word Passover. That is the Greek word used in the Bible. What is Passover? Passover is the day that the Lord killed all the firstborn in Egypt and thereby obtained deliverance for all the children of Israel who were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt. Let us read this here in Ex 12:1-17,
Ex 12:1 ¶ And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
Ex 12:2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
Ex 12:3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
Ex 12:4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.
Ex 12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
Ex 12:6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
Ex 12:7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
Ex 12:8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
Ex 12:9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.
Ex 12:10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.
Ex 12:11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S Passover.
Ex 12:12 For 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 all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
Ex 12:13 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.
Ex 12:14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.
Ex 12:15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
Ex 12:16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
Ex 12:17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance forever.
#1. Signs and Symbols (Mat 13:10-11)
This historical account of the exodus of the children of Israel out of Egypt contains a wealth of signs and symbols of Christ and of the deliverance Christ has bought, if you only want to see it. Many people refuse to see it, claiming that it contains a danger to see Christ in signs and symbols in the Scriptures. The Lord Jesus told us that He is portrayed in signs and symbols and in parables in the Bible. But only those to whom He has given the wisdom to understand parables would understand what He is communicating in these parables. The Reprobate have not received this information, and thus the reprobate continue in their confusion. The Lord Jesus said in Mat 13:10-11,
Mat 13:10, And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mat 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Paraphrased, the disciples came to Jesus and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables? And Jesus answered them, “It is given to you (plural “you”) to know the mysteries of the Gospel of salvation, but to “them” it is not given.” In other words, “I have given to you (the elect) the understanding of the mysteries of the Gospel of salvation, but to them (the reprobate) it is not given. They will continue to be confused and uncertain of the Gospel message, and they will continue to be unsaved for they have not been able to hear the Gospel message. To them it is all in contradictory signs and shadows and incomprehensible parables. Therefore, if preachers and Bible teachers today claim that they cannot bring the spiritual interpretation of a Bible passage, what are they really saying to us? They are saying that God the Holy Spirit has not revealed the spiritual information to them. In terms of the words of Jesus in Mat 13:10-11 they are saying that they belong to the “them,” the reprobate. That is very bad. In fact they have disqualified themselves from being legitimate teachers of the Word of God, for if they were legitimate teachers appointed by God they would also have received the messages from God concerning the mysteries of the Gospel. It does not mean that they are required to uncover the spiritual meaning of every verse in the Bible, for this is an impossible requirement for any one person living in the world today. But it does mean that they would at least admit that the Lord Jesus spoke in parables, not for the purpose of clarifying a passage, but for the purpose of hiding the truth from the reprobate in this world, and it is God’s desire that we will attempt to uncover the spiritual meanings of those passages which seem to be spoken in a parabolic sense.
When we compare the story of the Exodus with the story of the death of Christ we see these analogies: The children of Israel were born in Egypt, representing for them the House of Bondage. They were born as slaves of Pharaoh. Egypt seems to them the only place to live in the vast desert that was all around Egypt. Those who attempted to escape Egypt died in the desert from hunger and thirst. And so, there was no escape possible out of that House of Bondage. Pharaoh represented the Devil, and Egypt represented the kingdom of Satan from which no escape was possible. Pharaoh could oppress the children of Israel to any extent, and there was no one who would stop him; until the time came that the children of Israel prayed to God that He would send a Deliverer who would deliver them from the oppression of Pharaoh and all those whom Pharaoh sent to oppress them.
Compare this now with life in our present twenty first century. All mankind, including both the elect and the reprobate, are born in Sin and are born as slaves of Sin and Satan. We were born literally in the House of Bondage. We had no desire to move out of there, for we liked the life of sin that we lived. Our life that we lived was comfortable, and besides there was no escape possible out of that House of Bondage. It was impossible to break the power of sin we had become enslaved to. This was our condition, and it still is the condition of most people in the world today; until God the Holy Spirit shows us what a heel we are, and that we need to break loose from the power of sin. This lifestyle will inherit the wrath of God in a big way. And so we pleaded with God to send us a deliverer. So far we can see the analogy between the life of the children of Israel in Egypt, born as slaves to Pharaoh, and our life in this twenty fist century, born as slaves of Sin and Satan. And when we think of the cruelty of Pharaoh to have the Hebrew children thrown to the crocodiles in the Nile River, we should also remember the cruelty of twenty first century parents who take their children to a false gospel church where their children are trained to become God-haters, so that on the Last Day they will be cast into the Lake of Fire. That is even greater cruelty than throwing your children to the crocodiles.
· The Hand of God (Heb 10:14, Ecc 7:20)
Here is the most important thing to consider: WHO has been the cause for the change? Have the children of Israel suddenly become wiser and thus they pleaded for a Deliverer, or has God so much intensified their suffering so that they pleaded for a Deliverer? Have the people in our twenty first century suddenly become wiser and thus they pleaded for a Deliverer, or has God so much increased their debauchery that they pleaded for a Deliverer? And here, from this last example we understand what the true scenario is. It is not that all people get sick and tired of the increase in immorality that is going on, and plead with God for a Deliverer, but only a small fraction of mankind will pray to God for a Deliverer. These are the elect who are driven to pray to God for a change. But it was God who initiated the change. Likewise in Egypt it was not the entire population of Egypt whom God drew to Himself, but it was only a small fraction of the children of Israel who were drawn to God.
Now we get to the center of the problem. God sent a Deliverer; God sent Moses to the children of Israel. Were all the Egyptians delivered from their bondage to Pharaoh? No! Only the elect of the children of Israel were delivered from their slavery to Pharaoh. And again in our time God sent a Deliverer; God sent Christ to the elect of the people of the world. And how did God made a mark to change the world? What was the event that caused Egypt to change? In Egypt it was the feast of Passover, where in every household of Israel a lamb was slain on the 14th day of Nissan. The next day everyone in the nation of Israel was free, and they walked out of Egypt in one day. In modern times it was again the feast of Passover where all those who belong to the Israel of God celebrated Good Friday where Christ, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed for the atonement of the sins of all those who are of the Israel of God and look toward Christ as their Deliverer. The next two days all those who belong to the Israel of God were declared free from their bondage to Sin and Satan. That is what the Feast of Passover has obtained for all those who trust in Christ for their salvation. How did it come to pass that they trusted in Christ for their salvation? That is the miraculous work of God in giving them faith and trust in Christ. Did God give everyone faith in Christ? No! God gave only the elect of God faith in Christ. Was the Passover lamb slain for all the people of the world? No! The Old Testament Passover Lamb was slain only for the elect of Israel who brushed the blood of the lamb on the two side-posts and of the lintel above the door of their houses. This was the sign for the Angel of Death to “pass-over” the houses where the blood was shown. The New Testament Passover Lamb was slain for the forgiveness of the sins of all the elect only once in AD 33. We read in Heb 10:14,
Heb 10:14, For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
God the Son does not do anything halve-way. By this offering Christ cleansed the souls of all those who are sanctified, which means all those who have been set apart unto salvation. Therefore, if there is a denomination who includes in their doctrines of faith that at the Lord’s Supper Christ is sacrificed again and again, then we agree with the Heidelberg’s Catechism that this denomination is an accursed idolatry. They worship another Jesus than the Lord Jesus we know from the Bible. The Lord Jesus whom we know from the Bible is God the Son, and He is fully God. Therefore He is a sovereign Lord. He can set forth rules which we must believe and obey. God has set forth rules concerning election and reprobation and atonement. For example, atonement for man’s sins can only be effective by man. Man has sinned, and thus man has to pay for those sins. All the thousands of animals killed for the atonement for man’s sins were not able to pay for even one of man’s sins. Moreover, the person who atones for another man’s sins must himself be free from sin. Therefore we must take into account the words of Ecc 7:20, which says,
Ecc 7:20, There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
Therefore there is not a just man upon earth which could take the place of another man in the atonement for his sins. The only person who would qualify to atone for man’s sins is the Lord Jesus Christ, because He is the only one who is free from sin because He is God. Consider carefully who Jesus Christ really is, for we do not want to be barking up the wrong tree. Idolatry is not far from every Christian, and it is the sin that God hates most.
Now, let us get back to the real reasons for the Lord’s Passover. So far we have spoken only of the death of Christ. But since God cannot die we have to speak also of a resurrection from the dead.
#2. Resurrection Sunday (Rom 4:25, Mat 27:52-53, 1Thes 4:14-17, 1Cor 15:12-21, Heb 11:1)
Resurrection Sunday, or New Testament Passover, is a feast day for the New Testament church, and it is a picture of the Rapture of all the saints on the Last Day. Let us consider first Rom 4:25.
Rom 4:25, Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Christ was crucified for the offenses of all His elect in AD 33. He fully satisfied the righteousness of God when He paid for our sins. And when He rose again God showed us that this was a picture of the resurrection on the Last Day. We read in Mat 27:52-53,
Mat 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
Mat 27:53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
Where is that Holy City? No, it is not the city of Jerusalem, for the city of Jerusalem has ceased from being the Holy City. We read in Rev 11:8 that the city of Jerusalem is now called “Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” Now the Holy City is the New Jerusalem, which is in heaven. And on the Last Day when we will raised from the grave in the Rapture we will be with the Lord forever. Let us see this here in 1Thes 4:14-17,
1Thes 4:14, For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1Thes 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1Thes 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Thes 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
This is the last step for us: “And so shall we ever be with the Lord.” And so, what we see in all these passages is that the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ in AD 33, on the day that He rose from the grave, was written as a picture of our resurrection on the Last Day.
Let us now go back to the resurrection itself. Please turn in your Bibles to the first Epistle of the Corinthians, 1Cor 15:12. This is the resurrection chapter. On Friday, April 3, in the year AD 33 was the only valid atonement in the history of mankind, because this atonement satisfied all the requirements that God demanded. And this atonement was not complete until Christ was raised from the dead. The Lord tells us this in 1Cor 15:12-58. Let us just look at a few verses from this long chapter. We read in 1Cor 15:12-21,
1Cor 15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
1Cor 15:13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
1Cor 15:14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
1Cor 15:15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
1Cor 15:16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
1Cor 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
1Cor 15:18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
1Cor 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
1Cor 15:20 ¶ But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
1Cor 15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
This means that without the resurrection from the dead the atonement of Christ is not complete. In other words, without the resurrection from the dead the Passover is not complete. Remember what the Old Testament Passover was? The Lamb was slain to purchase deliverance from the power of Pharaoh, Satan. The Lamb was pointing to the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Old Testament Passover was pointing to the New Testament Passover; Christ was slain to purchase deliverance of all the elect from the power of Satan. And now, when Christ rose from the grave all the elect were declared free from their guilt of sins, for it was their sins which brought them under the power of Satan. And so since Christ, the Lamb of God, was risen from the dead His atonement for all our sins was successful and complete. And this act of God, on Friday April 3 in the year AD 33, did not only apply to all the saints living in AD 33, but it also applied retroactively to all the saints living at the time of the Exodus from Egypt, and it also applied to all the saints who are living today.
When I say “saints” it is implied that this refers to all the elect of God, for only the elect of God will be drawn to believe in Christ. This is an act of God, not an act of man. When we call them “believers”, or “true believers” we are giving them a title as if they had something to do with the act of believing. No, they do not deserve any credit for the act of believing. It is God’s work altogether. God totally agrees with this. In the Bible the word “believers” occurs only 2 times. But the word “saint” or “saints” occurs 98 times. So, should we be man-pleasers and use the word “believers”, or should we be God-pleasers and use the word “saints”? The answer is clear. We should not use the word “believers” any more. And so, let us rejoice that God gave the saints faith, for hereby we know that He has saved us. We read in Heb 11:1, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
What are the things hoped for? The things pertaining to our salvation are what we fervently hope for. We see the signs of our salvation, but where is the real evidence? God says that the faith that He has given us is the substance of what we hoped for. Let me dwell a little on that substance which is called faith. If you decide to believe the Bible and believe the words of Christ because you do not want to go to Hell, then you have not been saved. The faith that God is talking about is NOT fire insurance. So many people make that decision, but it was not the gift of God; it was their own decision. You cannot be saved by your own works. It must be a work of God and a gift from God. Remember Eph 2:8, “For by grace are you saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” And so, it must be a gift from God, or else it is worthless. But here in Heb 11:1 we can evaluate what the evidence is if we have been saved. How can we distinguish if we have received a faith that is from God, or if it is a faith that we conjured up ourselves? Meditate on this a while, because this is a most important question. It concerns a matter of life and death.
So, what have we arrived at in this lengthy discussion? We have found that the word Easter should never have been used. The Greek word in Acts 12:4 is “Pascha” or “Passover.” What does that mean? It means that God had the feast of Passover in mind when He raised Christ from the dead. And God wanted us to see the relationship between the commemoration of Passover and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We have seen this relationship, because we understand that the Lord Jesus spoke in parables and without a parable did He not speak unto “them”. Who are the “them” in these story-telling events? We have seen that the Lord Jesus did not speak to the Jews in parables because He wanted to clarify a certain doctrine to them, rather He wanted to keep them in confusion because He did not want them to become saved. These were the reprobate. What has Passover to do with all of this? Passover was the day when the Lamb of God was making atonement for the sins of all those whom God chose from before the foundation of the world. Christ is the final Passover Lamb. All the other Passover celebrations were just looking forward to the final Passover celebration, which was when Christ was crucified.
AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.