Church of God, Carmichael, CA

Shadows of Good Things

Or the Gospel in Type

Russell R. Byrum, 1922

[Original Page Numbers]


CHAPTER VI

THE SACRED SEASONS

(Leviticus 23; Numbers 28, 29)

The Passover and Unleavened Bread
(Exodus 12; Lev. 23:4 14)

  The Passover was the first of the great annual feasts both in significance and time. It was held in the first month, Abib, or Nisan, (March April), 14 21. It was originally instituted in Egypt on the eve of the exodus. The Egyptian or first Passover is to be distinguished from that of subsequent years because of the difference in the manner of observance.

  Imagine ourselves in a Hebrew home in ancient Goshen at the time of that awful crisis in Israelitish history when the great contest between Jehovah and the gods of Egypt was approaching its climax. The father of the family comes toward the little hut he calls home leading a yearling lamb, which has been kept apart for the last four days. The man's coarse, rough hands bear signs of hard toil and his body the marks of a cruel slave driver's lash. But despite his weariness from the day's toil and the droop of his shoulders from a lifetime of slavery, hope gleams from his eyes this evening. He knows that Jehovah has heard and is answering his prayer for deliverance. As the sun sinks low over the western desert the lamb, probably a pet of the family, is killed, and with a sprig of hyssop its blood is spattered on the door frame at either side and above.

  Later, when darkness has settled over the land and the early hours of the night have passed, we see the family all astir. They are dressed for a journey. Their sandals, not usually worn in the house, are on their feet. They hold walking staves in their hands. But their immediate purpose is not a journey. They gather about the table and the roasted lamb is brought. Also thin loaves of unleavened bread are distributed among them and a dish of endive, or wild lettuce, is placed in the center of the table. As they eat their feelings are mingled of hope and fear. The father describes to his children the bitter bondage they have endured these many years. He refers to the promises of Jehovah to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, [107] and speaks of the mighty miracles lately worked for their salvation, and of the awful blow about to fall upon their hard hearted oppressors. As he ceases speaking, the children look about with fearful eyes and draw a little closer to their parents. The anxious mother steps to the door once more to see if the blood of the slain lamb is plainly evident there, lest her own beloved first born child should perish at the near at hand hour of midnight.

  Not long after the last of the lamb has been eaten a distant wail of grief is heard, which soon grows into a mighty cry throughout all the land. They wait, and midnight passes. Their own first born is yet alive. God's angel, sent forth to destroy the first born of Egypt, has seen the sprinkled blood and has passed over their home. Their bondage is passed and their deliverance has come. Such was the first Passover.

  Though the first Passover had greater typical significance than the subsequent ones, yet it is well to know the ceremonial as it was commonly observed. The passover might be a lamb, a kid, or a bullock. After the first Passover the animal was no longer killed at their own homes, but at Jehovah's sanctuary (Deut. 16:6). Its blood was not put upon the door posts any more, but poured out at the side of God's altar. It was a sin offering in reality, though not the common one. Its observance was no longer obligatory except upon the men, although the women and children were not excluded. The Passover was followed by the seven day feast of unleavened bread, when leaven must not be found in their houses. This feast was to be a continual reminder to them of their deliverance from Egypt. The slain lamb was to remind them of the sparing of their first born in Egypt on that dreadful night of their deliverance, and that the first born as representatives of all the Israelites therefore belonged peculiarly to God. The unleavened bread, called the "bread of affliction" in Deut. 16 :3, would remind them of the affliction they endured and the bitter herbs of that bitter bondage. [108]

  Typical Significance of the Passover—The typical significance of the Passover is very clear in the New Testament writings. Probably no Mosaic institution is a more perfect type than this. Of the Passover lamb it was said that "a bone of him shall not be broken" (Num. 9:12), which the apostle John quotes of Christ himself (John 19:36). He plainly implies that Christ is the antitypical Passover. The apostle Paul states this plainly as follows: "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: 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." (1 Cor. 5:7, 8).

  Christ died on the cross during the Feast of the Passover. He was the Lamb of God which the ancient Passover lamb typified. He died to save us from God's judgments as that lamb died instead of the firstborn. As those ancient first born redeemed by the blood of that lamb therefore belonged peculiarly to God, so we redeemed through Christ belong to God in a special sense. We are saved by his death, not merely by his life. A live lamb tied at the door of one of those Hebrew homes in Goshen would not have been sufficient to shield the first born from wrath. It must die. Those who deny the vicarious death of Christ and teach salvation through his beautiful life alone, disregard the lesson of the Passover. Nor should the equally important truth be overlooked that the blood must be applied as well as shed. The blood was to be applied to the door posts and lintels. The blood thus applied was the means of salvation then. So now the mere fact that Christ died for sinners does not save them. The blood must be applied to them individually for their salvation from sin's guilt and penalty. Reader, has the blood of Christ been applied to your heart? As they ate as food of the flesh of that lamb by whose blood they were saved, so we have our spiritual life only by partaking of the flesh of the Son of God (John 6:53).

  But as the Passover lamb was eaten with bitter herbs, so we can partake of the benefits of Christ our Passover [109] only with the bitter herbs of repentance of sin. And as they must eat only unleavened bread, so we must reject malice, wickedness, and all other forms of sin and live a holy life. So Paul interprets the unleavened bread. And it is well to note that the bitter herbs were eaten only at the Passover meal, but they ate unleavened bread for seven days or a complete period of time following, thus signifying that our repentance is to accompany our first partaking of Christ, but the holy life must continue on throughout life. Those who teach we must sin more or less every day have utterly failed to grasp the significant truth of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. [110]

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Justification, Sanctification, Unity
Carmichael, California USA

5334 Whitney Ave. Carmichael, CA. 95608
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