Creation, the Firstborn and the Passover
Is the Passover not like a revisit by God to the earliest days of Creation? The sin of the first born is again being judged. The assault of the first born, Cain/Egypt, against the second born, Abel/Israel, is being called to account. But in Egypt on this fateful night the roles are reversed. The dead bodies of Israelite’ babies awash in the Nile gives evidence. The lashes from the taskmaster’s whips give evidence. The pervasive idolatry gives evidence. The verdict can no longer be withheld, the Egyptians are being called to account. It is the first born of Egypt who will perish this night.
The blood of a sheep will mark for exemption from judgment the firstborn of the keepers of the sheep. The red blood, like Abel’s, cries out for recognition—a stop sign. How symbolic that God choose a sheep’s blood for identification. Abel, too, was a keeper of sheep. It was his blood shed by Cain that cried out to the Lord. So, the blood of a lamb cried out to the Lord on behalf of the firstborn of the Israelites. The Israelite firstborn did not bear the guilt of the firstborn of Egypt. The blood would reveal this distinction.
The first born of Egypt, like Cain, used its collective will to sin—to be idolators of false gods, to give agreement to the ungodly treatment of the Israelites. Many principles of God’s Torah, His Law, were being violated by the Egyptian tyranny. God would soon spell this out in detail at Mt Sinai. Sin was no longer “crouching at the door” as with Cain. The will, the choice, had long been made by the Egyptians to sin against Israel.
For at least 80 years, since the time of Moses’ birth, the Egyptians had been grievously persecuting the children of Israel. How many other unrecorded atrocities occurred before and after that period of infanticide?
God’s timing is perfect, even if not given man to fully understand or accurately project. God was not indifferent to the plight of the Israelites during all those years of bondage. His testimony was in the land of ungodliness through His servant, Joseph. It was not until a Pharaoh came who knew not Josephthat the trouble began.
Perhaps these were years when the Israelites had opportunity to give testimony of the God they knew and served to the Egyptian idol worshippers. Perhaps they squandered their calling and opportunity on self. Perhaps even Joseph did not recognize their opportunity, but was limited by the edited promises of God to the fathers. Perhaps the Israelites were so isolated in Goshen they did not perceive the sinful, idolatrous condition of the nation about them. Had Joseph forgotten the entire vision laid out by God to Abraham that his descendants were to be a blessing to the nations? It seems the time was squandered between Jacob’s death, Joseph’s death and the coming of the Pharaoh who knew not Joseph. The promise from God to Abraham was not self fulfilling, it required the corporate action of the leaders and the growing populous of Israel.
The implication to me then, in observing Passover and Unleavened Bread, will be where I place the emphasis in observing each. The feast begins with Passover and ends eight days later at the conclusion of Unleavened Bread. There are really two different “Feasts,” each with a different dialogue.
Passover is a one night event, the observing of a clear dividing line, a demarcation between death and life. It epitomized the difference between the protection offered by a fading mark of blood and the futility of the Egyptian raising in his defense, a protesting sinful hand .
The Israelite firstborn was not without sin, not without culpability, no, he was exempt from judgment because of the promises of God to his forefathers. The lamb’s blood shielded him from death that his feet might be put back on the path of Promise. The consequence of past failures were placed in abeyance because of God’s provision, God’s outstretched hand. This event provides an opportunity for a new beginning. The bonds of slavery are removed. A window of opportunity is opened and must be quickly seized. However, repentance for personal and corporate failings cannot be overlooked.
The night following Passover the Feast of Unleavened Bread is celebrated. This is a seven day event. The emphasis is the absence of all leaven, all sin. It symbolizes the embarking upon the journey of a leavenless, sinless life, ending by faith in the further celebration of a grace-filled successful conclusion. The success of the journey embodies the additional directive to be a blessing to the nations. A daily “offering” is made, a time for Holy Spirit revealing of leaven.
After so many years of observing these feasts I am less inclined to embrace the traditions of the observance and more inclined to let it be a time to draw closer to God that He might draw close to me. I feel it does help my celebration to understand the dynamic of that first event. This is not so much to replicate the event, but to make personal application today from an intimate, spiritual insight into the joys and tragedies of my spiritual forefathers – celebrating the joy and repent and seek forgiveness for the failings..
1 Ex 1:22
2 Is the United States not entering into a like dark period with the increasing legalization of
abortion, even up to birth? Are babies not now being “thrown into the Nile?”
3 Ex 1:8
4 Ex 1:23 …Joseph said unto his brethren, I die; but God will surely visit you, and bring you up out of this land….
5 Ex 47:6
6 Genesis 12:3 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.”
Genesis 18:18…since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
Genesis 22:18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
7 For a more comprehensive development of this theme see http://
missionpossiblepeople.com/blog/ Another Perspective on Observing Passover
8 Ex 12:43 et seq