Category Archives: Passover

Creation, the Firstborn and the Passover

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[1] gives evidence.[2] 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 Joseph[3]that 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.[4] Perhaps the Israelites were so isolated in Goshen[5] 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?[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] 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..

Endnotes
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

Another Perspective on Observing Passover

Another Perspective on Observing Passover

“Blasphemy,” you say to consider another way to observe Passover from its 3500 years of tradition. Bear with me, I respect and honor God’s command to observe Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, but I believe I have an emphasis on the celebration that should be incorporated into the observance.
Consider that Joseph, a mighty man of God, was in Egypt enjoying the favor of Pharaoh for close to 20 years before he brought his family to Egypt. Consider further, that Joseph and Jacob (the Israelites) enjoyed the favor of Pharaoh1 and the Egyptian people for at least another 70 years until Joseph’s death at 110 years of age.2 It was sometime after Joseph’s death that the Israelites fell out of favor with Pharaoh and then into slavery.

For close to 90 years, beginning with Joseph, there were men and women of God present in the pagan land of Egypt, a land and people ripe for the knowledge of the God of the Israelites. But there seems to be no evidence that this knowledge was being shared.

If my understanding is correct, then it appears to me Joseph and Jacob (the Israelites) all fell short in understanding an important reason for their being in Egypt. They brought with them, to the nation of Egypt, the belief in the power and authority of the One True God, but kept it to themselves.
Perhaps they misunderstood the part of God’s promise to the Patriarchs that His chosen, Abraham’s seed, were to be a blessing to the nations.3 The purpose of the blessing was that those observing and hearing the testimony of this blessed people would seek after a relationship with the God those blessed people served.

God loves His creation. He did not create it for the purpose that He might destroy most of it. Even with Noah He gave His creation plenty of notice to change their ways.

And so with Egypt, He sent His emissaries, the Israelites, to be His witness. He was focusing on turning the greatest nation on earth, at that time, from its pagan ways.
A further underlining of God’s plan for Abraham’s descendants is set forth in Genesis 15:9-13, 17.4 (I suggest you read the footnote.) It is at this time God lays out His vision for Abraham and his descendants with an awesome, graphic demonstration—a diverse sacrifice visited by the flame, smoke and dread of God Himself.

This sacrifice ordered by God is the only place in the Torah where the animals are specified to be three years old. It was with this sacrifice that God affirms His covenant with Abraham. It was here He speaks of the years of bondage, but also opportunity, for Abraham’s future descendants.
Since this is the only time in Torah a three year old sacrifice is specified, I considered what might be the significance of such an event. As the owner of a small flock of sheep, I know that to be able to select three year old animals, you have to have an intimate knowledge of your herd or flock to know the ages of the animals.

Perhaps God is emphasizing His intimate knowledge of His “flock,” His creation. The variety of the sacrifice: heifer, goat, sheep, birds indicated the inclusiveness of the entirety of God’s creation. The specification of female and male indicates the inclusiveness of gender in His plan for Abraham’s descendants.

He underlines His seriousness with palpable dread, fire and smoke much as He would do all those hundreds of years later at Mt Sinai. It was at Sinai that He manifested in fire and smoke before a mixed multitude of native-born, sojourner and gender—heifer, goat, ram, birds as on Abraham’s altar.
God’s heart has always been, that all might be saved. Was is any different toward the Egyptians? Were Joseph and subsequently the Israelites not there on a mission?

The years of bondage in Egypt could, instead, have been years of preeminence. Had the Egyptians turned from their idol worship, God would not have had to make His own case against their false gods with His ten plagues. His promised judgment would have been on an entirely different spiritual basis.
It seems God finally expresses His feeling toward the Egyptians and what could have been the purpose for the Israelites being in Egypt at the crossing of the sea, where He states: “…So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”5
The Israelites could have been those whose testimony brought honor to God. The Israelites could have possessed the gates of Egypt, instead of the gates of Egypt imprisoning them. Talk about lost opportunity to change world history.

God told Jacob He would make Israel a GREAT nation in Egypt.6 Maybe it was easier to believe God meant GREAT in number rather than GREAT because of recognition for the God they served. It is much easier to default to the easy way. Had the Israelites chosen a God-honoring GREATNESS, I believe God’s favor would have given them an eminence in the “opened eyes” of the Egyptians. The Israelites would have left Egypt with possessions given from gratitude, rather than of “good riddance.”

Joseph certainly had his opportunity through the favor he was given with Pharaoh. Yet, Joseph’s own descendant through his son Ephraim would reintroduce a false god—the infamous golden calf.7 It seems no coincidence that this future betrayer of the faith fled to Egypt while awaiting his timing. Perhaps Joseph, too, failed at being an effective witness of the mighty God he knew. Perhaps God allowed Joseph to be the forerunner of His witness to the Egyptians.

That was then, what about now? Let me heed my criticism with a little personal application. What is my response to the sin, paganism and idol worship that abounds in the U.S. today? What bondage am I
experiencing—will yet further experience? Am I a convincing witness to the God I serve? Or, will I fall into the same camp as Joseph and Jacob?

Let me observe and celebrate Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread with a different emphasis than I have in the past. It now becomes an opportunity to repent for my spiritual ancestors’ failings, for my failings to be a more faithful witness. A time not to celebrate the death of an “enemy.” but the grace of God for another chance to share the good news to a corrupt and pagan world.

1 Genesis 47:5-6 …Have your father and your brothers dwell in the best of the land….
2 Genesis 50:26
3 Genesis 22:18
4 Genesis 15:9-13
So He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year- old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.
Genesis 15:17
And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces.
5 Exodus 14:17b-18
6 Gen 46:3
7 1Kings 12:28

Celebrate the Biblical New Year

10184224 – a mountain range silhouetted by a star-filled night sky and a crescent moon.

Tonight (March 27, 2017) at sundown begins the biblical month of Aviv (Nisan). This new moon event represents the beginning of the count down to the commanded feast of Passover. It is the first day of the new year on the calendar of seven annual feasts. The celebration of this new moon, new year event, although not commanded by scripture, would definitely be in order.

My good wife will make today’s evening meal a special event. While not a Sabbath there will definitely be an erev Shabbat type atmosphere.

Not only do we want to be obedient to the instruction of Yahova we want to stand against the prophetic word of Daniel. In Chapter 7 at verse 25, Daniel speaks of the enemy who, among other persecutions of believers, “shall intend to change times and law.” Some translations say times and seasons. We repented years ago of agreeing with these plans of the enemy. It seemed to us that to follow God’s calendar we would be more apt to experience peace and blessing.

Over the next two weeks I will offer a Haggadah (a script to aid in celebrating the feast) which we use for Passover. We have incorporated the symbols and values of the first exodus together with the “second exodus”. It is this second exodus from the bondage of sin that has eternal significance for the believers in Messiah Yeshua.

May this new year be one of special spiritual insight and blessing for each of us.

Passover Considerations–2016

Passover Considerations—2016

We, as Messianics, do not observe the solstice event of Easter as the observance of Messiah Yeshua’s passion. We do observe Passover as being the biblically chronicled time of Messiah’s death. Although we are not commanded by scripture to observe Messiah’s death it is so inextricably linked with Passover and our eternal relation with Creator Yahweh that we cannot ignore the linkage.
It is important to be able to give proper observance to both.

Therefore, it is essential that we understand what is the message of the Feast of Passover. The use of “passover” even in scripture seems at times to merge the two events without always a clearly distinction. The first being the passover by the Death Angel of the houses of the Israelites that were blood identified. The blood that was used came from specially selected lambs that were all slain at the same time. The second event is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. That this observance was to follow the next day after the Passover was not necessarily experientally obvious at the time. However, it immediately became a commanded feast. (Ex 12:1-28 and 13:3-10)

There are likewise two events concerning Messiah Yeshua where the distinction is blurred. The prevalent practice in the Christian church and probably spilling over into Messianic thinking is the magnification of the crucifixion of Messiah. To me it is a subtle but very important distinction that is to be made. Was it the death of Yeshua, Son of God, and His resurrection that is to be the essence of observance or the shedding of the blood of the Lamb of God?

It is here that I see the symbolism of the original Passover as being the clue. In the first observance in Egypt the lamb was slain, but NOT as an altar sacrifice. It was the blood of the lamb that was the source of salvation for the Israelite first born. The lamb was roasted and consumed by those protected by its blood. There is no mention of an altar or offering to Yahweh. The lamb that remained was to be burned and not kept over. This act was a faith statement. Leftovers wouldn’t be needed tomorrow because we had our sandals on, staff in hand and were leaving the bondage of slavery. The symbolism can be further understood as representing Yahweh’s provision for our earthly, physical needs (roasted lamb) as well as our eternal, spiritual wellbeing (the blood of the lamb exempting us from death).

It is interesting that Yeshua said we are to “eat my flesh” (John 6:54) Is He drawing a parallel to the Passover lamb? He also said in the same verse in John, “drink my blood.” Was that a dramatic metaphor for saying to apply His blood to the doorposts and lintel of our hearts? I believe so. God has never suggested human sacrifice. Yes, He asked Abraham to “sacrifice” Isaac, but He did not require it. He provided a ram for the sacrifice. It was a test of faith, of obedience. The Torah specifically speaks against the practice of human sacrifice. (Lev 20:1-5)

It may seem I am splitting hairs in the distinctions I make, but please follow me to understand why I am so desirous of the right emphasis. I do not believe Yahweh sent His Son to be sacrificed. He knew that Yeshua would suffer, that His blood would be shed. Of course, all knowing, He knew he would die. But it was really Sin that took Yeshua’s life. It was not God sacrificing His Son except to the extent He sent Him knowing what the outcome would be, as did Yeshua. It was our sin which required the shedding of the divine, unimpeachable blood for the removal of our sin. No reproach or condemnation can ever question the cleansing of sin washed away in this blood. (Rev 1:5) It was far removed from the shedding of the blood of animals. Without it there could be no assurance of enjoying the holy presence of the Father.

I am not endeavoring to diminish the “sacrifice” of Yeshua in the passion of the last supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the trial, beatings and piercings, but to reemphasize the shedding of the blood. Had there been no shedding of blood the death of Yeshua would have accomplished nothing in terms of our eternity. His death would have been that of just one more martyr of the faith. The Torah clearly says in Lev 17:11 “it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” It is reaffirmed in Hebrews 9:22, “without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” In Rev 1:5 it says, “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” The fact of the crucifixion, death and resurrection was certainly a testimony that Yeshua was God come in the flesh, but had His blood not been shed we would still be dead in our sin.

All this to say I feel we must take a different tack, as Messianics, from the Rabbinic view of the Passover observation as a “feast of celebration.” My understanding is that in today’s observance the first night of, while not necessarily requiring the blood of a lamb to be shed, is deeply contemplative. Emphasis is to be on the shed blood and especially the shed blood of the Lamb of God. I see each redeemed believer as first born—blood bought, sanctified and set apart unto Yahweh. Interestingly this 14th day of Abib (Nisan) is not a Sabbath. Do you suppose that means we are never to rest from knowing and acting on who we are in Messiah and the work His blood has done?!

The Feast of Unleavened Bread (FUB) commences the next evening at sundown. This would be after sundown on the 14th which is then the 15th . I believe the daylight of the 14th (that is the daylight hours that follow the passover of the Death Angel) is then for the removing of leaven and meal preparation. We, in practice, actually use all seven days of FUB for leaven removal—not physical leaven but those spiritual ingredients of leaven in our lives. We have taken the Torah instruction to make an offering by fire each of the seven days of FUB (Lev 23:8) to include this discipline. There is no sweeter savor to Father, I’m sure than giving His Spirit opportunity to bring under the blood those things in our lives that would separate us from His presence. As priests and kings the altar in the tabernacle of our spirit (heart) should carry this fragrance to Father. (Rev 1:6)

Sequentially then, first comes the shedding of the blood. The Passover meal is simple so it does not distract from the introspective appreciation of the original exemption in Egypt from death; from the inescapable parallel to our personal encounter with the shed blood of Yeshua. Then, the second event (FUB) is in effect a celebration of freedom from slavery (first in Egypt, then from our individual sin). This is tempered by seven days of spiritual “sacrifice” being placed on the altar of the tabernacle jn our heart. Lastly, comes the final feast on the seventh day—it being a Sabbath-a recognition of the promise of rest in the presence of Yeshua. This rest having been purchased by His blood. The rest being symbolic of a life cycle of leavenless living.

May Yahweh bless you as you explore anew the beauty and depth of Passover.

Kennedy Brown
Gerizim
April 19, 2016

A Psalm from a Chosen One

A Psalm from a Chosen One
Prompted by Exodus 12, Deuteronomy 7:6 and Jeremiah 3:18

Of the second exodus many have spoken
The last travail of those You have chosen.
A repeat, it has been said,
Of the flight begun with unleavened bread.

Forever marked by annual remembrance
Of blood placed on the door’s circumference.
Not just any blood would do
It must be that of a lamb most true.

Your tenth, sovereign move, dear Father
Was a foretelling of Messiah’s ardor.
Yourself come in mortal flesh
Gave me life renewed, made fresh.

And so, I joined those blood bought ranks
Chosen forever−my eternal thanks.
But that journey of which first I spoke
Experiencing prophesied scenes of fire and smoke.

If I should be among the chosen train
To walk the path to millennial reign−
Then let me not into unbelief tumble;
Let me not along the way stumble.

Those bones of Your chosen, Egypt fleeing
Lie short of the Promised Land seeing.
Yahweh, please let me the lesson learn−
Your commandments and Torah to never spurn.

Kennedy Brown
Gerizim
Sabbath, January 16, 2016

Certainly parshat Bo (Ex 10:1-13:6) was the foundation for much of this psalm. However, the whole of Yahweh’s plan, from Creation to Completion, had to be touched upon to express my prayer and praise. I continue to be cautioned by the fact the generation leaving Egypt did not enter the prom-ised land. Then there is the question of the second or greater exodus which I am less able to scripturally confirm. To remain faithful to the entire word of Yahweh, I’m convinced, will equip me to face the twists and turns of the journey, whether I correctly discern them now or not. This, of course, is possible only because of my Blood bought relationship with Father pur-chased for me by Yeshua.