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9. Passover

The entire transaction of Passover is total, and it is immediate. No element of Passover is “for the future.” Egypt is now, Passover is now, the journey is now. The transition from one to the other happens in totality through the hours of one bloody night.


     

9. Passover

© Daniel Yordy - 2014

. . . indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 1 Corinthians 5:6

Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs . . . And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand . . .

. . . against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. Exodus 12:8-13

Getting right at the heart of Passover out from Paul's gospel alone is taking on a deep sobriety for me as I read these verses and contemplate the darkness of this night and our desperate need to be found in one place alone.

We are looking at two things from Exodus. The first is the event of Passover, the second is the feast commemorating that event. God gave the feast before He did the event. But the real meaning of both did not enter human understanding until Paul wrote his two letters to the Corinthian church. John wrote his overwhelming confirmation of Paul's gospel a few decades later.

The portions of Exodus 12 I have printed above could fill many letters. Understand, this series is not an explanation of Israel's feasts, nor of the events that produced those feasts. My only concern and desire right now is the revelation of Jesus Christ in and through His people, you and me, right here on this earth, right now in the year of our Lord 2014 or whatever year you may read this. Thus I draw out those details that drive home for us Paul's gospel of Christ our only life.

What is Christ? And what is He doing in us? And what is He doing and about to do through us?

Before we explore these phrases from Exodus 12, let's bring in a detailed list of specifics concerning the Feast of Passover. These are all the details God gave through Moses in the quotations found in “The Original Feasts.”

•           Passover is the fourteenth day of the first month – at twilight.

(This is a bit confusing. Remember that 6 PM is the beginning of the day in Israel's reckoning, not 12 midnight as we count. Since Moses clearly calls the next morning the fifteenth day of the first month, we can call the Passover events of the fourteenth day the preparation with the killing of the Lamb at twilight, right at the turning from the 14th to the 15th. Jesus, however, died at 3 PM on the 14th. Thus the killing of our Passover Lamb occurred before twilight. Jesus' body had to be taken down before 6 PM because, as Moses instituted, the Sabbath on which no work could be done began at 6 PM.)

•           The lamb is chosen on the 10th day and then kept four days until the 14th. This lamb is without blemish, a male of the first year.

•           The lamb is killed at twilight (we will assume 6 PM) with the blood poured into a basin, and then sprinkled with a bunch of hyssop onto the two doorposts on either side of the door and on the lintel just above the door.

•           The flesh is then roasted in fire and eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

•           All the eaters must be dressed for traveling. They will spend the night already prepared to get out of Egypt. In the observance of the Feast, everyone returns to their tents in the morning.

•           No one is to leave the house all night long. The angel of death comes at midnight to strike the Egyptian firstborn.

•           No uncircumcised person will eat the Passover lamb. Any foreigner who is circumcised first, and then eats the Passover lamb, becomes a native of Israel.

•           Any unclean person is free to eat, and must eat, of Passover.

•           The feast is to be kept as a memorial throughout Israel's generations.

•           The Passover Lamb is to be sacrificed only in God's chosen place, a place not won for Israel until David makes Jerusalem his city. Thus from that point on, all Israel must come to Jerusalem to observe Passover and return to their tents early the next morning. Since they have travelled to Jerusalem, their stance is that of being on a journey.

The events of the Feast of Passover are very simple, but their reality is utterly penetrating. More than that, the Feast of Unleavened Bread also begins at 6 PM, the beginning of the Sabbath that launches that second feast. Thus the Feast of Unleavened Bread overlaps with Passover. This is God's picture. We will see what that means in the next letter. But first we must know the profound and overwhelming meaning of Passover.

Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country. . .” Genesis 12:1

Against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment.

I have stated that I want to explore the meaning of the feasts without too much contrast with the negative, but here the meaning of Passover requires that we take a cold and hard look at one of the most evil and destructive of all the gods of Egypt – Nicene “salvation.” We must contrast Passover with this false “god” because we must escape it in order even to enter the Christ of the feasts.

Nicene salvation says that the blood of Jesus is a “ticket” for us so that someday, after we die, we can “get out of hell” and travel on “to heaven.” This is the meaning of Passover in Nicene Christianity.

It is a god of Egypt, keeping God's people separated from Christ right now in their knowledge.

The entire transaction of Passover is total, and it is immediate. No element of Passover is “for the future.” Egypt is now, Passover is now, the journey is now. The transition from one to the other happens in totality through the hours of one bloody night.

Thus we never see bondage in Egypt, the night of Passover, and leaving the next morning as three separate things, but as one thing, one powerful and overwhelming picture out of which God births Christ into the knowledge of all creation.

More than that, we see that God doubled the picture of Passover with the crossing of the Red Sea. In fact, those two events are completely parallel and thus we know that God establishes Christ by the testimony of a double witness.

God's picture does not include wandering in the wilderness. I will say this over and over. So many attempt to present the wandering in the wilderness as “God's picture for us.” It is NOT. Wandering in the wilderness, as we shall see, comes only out of UNBELIEF and REBELLION. It is not in God's picture; it is not in ours.

Israel wandered in the wilderness for one reason only – they carried the gods of Egypt with them, inside their hearts.

Against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment.

 I must, right here, bring in the only absolute that will take you and me through the next few years of the closing out of this age of human folly.

I made a mistake in my understanding of the two Sabbaths of the Feast of Tabernacles. God filling the temple of Solomon took place on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. That is not the great day of the feast. That event, rather, prefigured the beginning of Tabernacles for us, not its “end.” Rather, the great day of the feast is the 22nd day of the seventh month, the day on which Jesus spoke into our lives rivers of living water. In God's pattern of Israel, that fulfillment of the great day of the Third Feast did not come into view until Ezekiel saw it by vision during the days of Passover in 573 BC, 13 years after Solomon's temple was obliterated by fire.

Here is what we must know. We must know it all through the fabric of our minds, our talking, our thinking, our knowing.

The Great Day of Tabernacles, the perfection of God, comes FIRST. All things that are God continually flow out of that Day. When I speak of the dealings of God in the heart of a man or a woman, the scourging of His hand, all of that comes out from Perfection first.

Here is God's order: Union-Communion-Victory. Perfection-Inclusion-Perfecting.

Placing the dealings of God into wandering in the wilderness is to remain with the gods of Egypt in rebellion and unbelief. All of God's dealings come entirely out from the totality of Tabernacles fulfilled in all ways in our lives inside of God right now.

Get out of your country. Now, right now, at the very beginning.

God deals with us not so that we “might be” but because we ARE. We never ever say or think any form of “I wish someday.” Such speaking is evil rebellion. We say only “I am.”

Writing this series is a bit different than previous series. In previous series, I had an outline of sorts, but vague and with the main point unseen. After writing “Seeing the Invisible One” and “Moses and Paul,” I now have the main point of this series, that is, the Day of Atonement and the essence of Tabernacles, in full view. Its details will yet surprise us, but through all the letters of this series, now, I will be driving towards the main thing.

That main thing can be expressed by a simple phrase – faith working by love. However, I am seeing faith in its most radical form, that is, the faith of the Son of God, and love in both its broadest and its deepest meanings.

“Seeing the Invisible One” is one of those landmark letters that has altered my knowing of and relationship with God in a big way. “Moses and Paul” is not far behind. But I may yet be surprised by what that alteration is.

 Now, I have just discovered another twist to the patterns of the feasts that I had never known before. And I am taking this slight diversion because it is so important for us to know where to place Passover.

In year one of Israel's journey the feasts of Passover and Pentecost are kicked off by the real events in Israel's journey that they memorialize. However, nothing happens in October of that year, as I have shared. Rather, at that time, the children of Israel are camped near Mr. Sinai waiting while the craftsmen build the tabernacle and its furnishings. That tabernacle is completed in March, the last month of 1462 BC; the tabernacle is erected entirely on the first day of the first month of Israel's second year.

On that day, April 1, 1461, God fills that tabernacle with His presence. (Edward Reese suggests that Jesus may have been born on April 1, the day the Passover Lambs were born – that is, those chosen next year on April 1 at one year old. Thus we have “April Fool's Day,” a day to mock those who did not switch over to the Catholic exaltation of Baal/Jupiter's birth date of December 25.)

Then, in between God filling that tabernacle and the first memorial Passover on the fourteenth, a whole lot of things happen. I will include a letter on that second passover. After that second passover, Israel leaves Sinai and heads towards the promised land. In that journey, Moses chooses 70 elders of Israel; God places the same Spirit upon them that was upon Moses. Although the text does not say, that event happens near June 5, the second day of Pentecost, and could well have taken place on that day. Then, the spies go into the promised land and return to the camp of Israel in September. “We are well able to overcome,” could well have been said by Caleb on October 1, the feast of trumpets.

The children of Israel refuse to enter in and are rejected by God. But they rebel even further and attempt to enter the Promised Land without God. They are defeated. – It was the time of Tabernacles.

God had purposed to take His people into the Promised Land during the Feast of Tabernacles. When they did go in under Joshua 38 years later, it was Passover again, not Tabernacles. The refusal of Israel to fulfill God's event of Tabernacles, entering the Promised Land at the appointed time, was not a rejection of Tabernacles, but a rejection of Passover.  “Let us go back to Egypt.” – Let's bring in the full text.

So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.” Numbers 14:1-4

Almost all of Christianity I know has utterly rejected Passover. Here is the definition they give to the meaning of Passover. “I am a sinner saved by grace.”

Here is what they really mean: “I continue in wickedness against God, with a fallen, evil self of my own. However, even though I should be screaming in the torment of hell right now, I get to “go to” heaven, but only after my spirit and my body are ripped apart as the curse against continuing now in hostility against God.”

Almost all of Christianity, including the move of God in which I once fellowshipped, places the Christian life entirely in this same Egypt without regard to Passover. The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness only because going “back to Egypt” was unreal; Egypt was no more. Egypt had been destroyed, and nothing they remembered existed any more. They wandered in the memory of Egypt only. Thus all those who teach the wilderness and “getting rid of the old man” as part of God's purpose have rejected Passover.

The old man is no more. Holding on to its memory is refusing to live inside of Christ alone.

Passover is a big deal.

Scripture does not say whether or not there was any observance of Tabernacles in 1462 BC, Israel's first year. Neither is there any mention of an observance of Tabernacles in 1461 BC, during the time of rebellion. It is doubtful that they did. In fact, I don't think there is any record of an observance of Tabernacles until Solomon called Israel up to that feast to dedicate the temple.

“Getting rid of the old man” is open rebellion against God. Even “getting rid of the memories” can be seen as wandering in the wilderness, believing in an Egypt that does not exist. Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ is the only thing that causes that which is not to vanish. God has already clothed us with Christ; our part is to believe and as we believe, to speak.

God gave Passover through the two starkest, most graphic, most overwhelming and staggering, most complete and explicit pictures He could devise. He did so in order to shock us with the totality and irreversibility of what Passover is and means.

Bondage – night of death – Blood – Passover – pursued by armies – blocked – the Red Sea opens – Egypt swept away – freedom forever.

Sin and death – the Crucifixion – Blood – Hear am I and the children whom You have given Me – the grave – the stone rolled away – Resurrection – Life, now and forever.

What else can God do to persuade us to reject wandering around in the wilderness and to live now in the full knowledge that we are all that Christ is, fulfilled right now in all fulness in, as, and through us?

Passover came out of Tabernacles. Tabernacles is complete in all ways; Passover comes out of Tabernacles to show us its certainty. Tabernacles does not come because of Passover. Passover happens because Tabernacles is already the only reality there is. Let me show you that this truth is the foundation of the Covenant and of Paul's gospel.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Romans 8:28-30

We were already glorified before we were justified. We were already justified before we were called. The calling does not produce the glory. The glory produces the calling.

Look at how the Spirit of God positions the fullness of reality, here, through Paul. He speaks first of the final outcome of God's work as it shows up in appearance, that is, the outflowing of the rivers of living water out from the Great Day of the Feast of Tabernacles, God and us together making all things good, setting all creation free. Then, right at the heart, the Spirit places the wordsymmorphos, conformed, Jesus becoming us becoming Him. Then, at the end, He places the beginning, that is, already glorified in all the glory of Jesus from before the foundation of the ages.

Let's place the stark absoluteness of Passover in Paul's gospel of Jesus Christ before our eyes.

. . . giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,  in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:12-14

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus . . . Ephesians 2:4-6

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation . . . 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

It is a total transfer from one realm to an entirely different realm. There cannot be, there is not any mixture of any kind between these two utterly opposing realms. There are NOT two lives in me. I have no “human nature” that is not coming out of Christ.

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14

Passover requires us to shut up. “Hold your peace” is nice talk for “shut your mouths.” – Hands off. This transaction has nothing, nothing, nothing to do with us. This transaction is absolute and total. It is the ACTION of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I hear, over the last several days, the words, “Stand still and see the salvation of God” coming out of my spirit over and over.

What if? – What if the children of Israel had given thanks before the Red Sea when the waters bound them in and the Egyptian army pressed close behind? What if they had given thanks when they had no water and no food in the desert? What if they had given thanks when Moses did not come back off the mountain right away? What if they had given thanks when they heard of the giants in the land?

What if God's purposes for them had rested entirely on the transaction of the children of Israel simply doing the one thing God asked of them – Do not be afraid; that is, give thanks?

Because the children of Israel were humans living in space and time, God purposed to fulfill Tabernacles, not in their first year, but in their second. That is, God fulfilled Passover and Pentecost on the first days of those feasts, but nothing was in place for the fulfillment of Tabernacles that October. The tabernacle had to be built and assembled. Then, the order of sacrifice and priesthood had to be set in place. Finally, Israel, with God dwelling completely in their midst, had to travel to the borders of the Promised Land, arriving there in August of their second year.

What if they had simply given thanks at every point along the way, obeying the one command that counts. “Do not be afraid. Stand still, hold your peace, see the Salvation of God, for the Lord fights for you”?

What if?

There is no question in my mind that the Presence of God would have fallen upon the entire nation as they entered the Promised Land in October of 1461 BC, at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. There is no question in my mind that under Joshua and Moses, in a few short years, they would have seen the entire land cleared of enemies, Jerusalem in the hands of Joshua, and peace upon Israel.

Tabernacles was complete inside of God before He ever sent Moses into Egypt.

Why Egypt?

Paul uses three terms that the metaphor of Egypt symbolizes for us.

The power of darkness – dead in trespasses – old things.

Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new. All things are of God.

The feast of unleavened bread began the very moment that the blood of the Passover Lamb was sprinkled upon the doorposts of the house. Thus eating the flesh of the lamb and unleavened bread pertain to the second part of the overall Feast of Passover. In the letter on the feast of unleavened bread, I will explore the meaning of our present union with Christ. That union flows through all that we are right now in this world.

However, Passover is that sudden jolt, that instantaneous, immediate, and total transfer from the old realm of death and darkness into the realm of the totality of Salvation. Thus the crossing of the Red Sea is an immediate second picture God gives us of the reality of Salvation.

And thus the gospel requires of us an “immediate” baptism in water as the second picture to us of what takes place in the mighty transaction of cross, blood, and resurrection. Let's bring in God's purpose for water baptism according to Paul in his gospel.

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized(immersed) into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.Romans 6:3-7

Our baptism in water gives us the picture of our utter inclusion inside of Jesus in every step He took through the Path of the Atonement to the right hand of the Father.

I was there inside of Him. I am there now and nowhere else.

Our part of the entirety of Salvation is to SEE that Salvation. And we see that Salvation while our mouths are tight shut, that is, “hands off.” But God also said, “Do not be afraid.” The only way we can not be afraid is to give thanks.

Give thanks. – Sing and dance for joy on THIS side of the sea, before the waters part.

Salvation is complete, and we are complete in Him.

Why Egypt?

Why did God take us out from all the glory of Christ in the beginning and place us under Adam's sin and rebellion? If we were there inside of Jesus upon the cross, as He Himself testified: “Here I am and the children whom You have given Me,” why, then, did God place us now upon this planet of folly and confusion?

I said earlier that I would address this question in this letter. I have asked it again, yes, but I see that we must wait until we know the Day of Atonement in all ways in our lives before we can even know the real answer to that question. Let me give a hint here. It has to do with a Man laying down His life for His friends. It has to do with God as He is, a God who labors in travail to give birth.

The scene God sets at the crossing of the Red Sea gives us such a picture of the reality of Passover in our lives. Let's explore it a bit further.

~~~ Okay, a few days after I wrote the last sentence, I find myself between two things. In pondering over the facts of the account in Exodus 14, I perused a website that gave an alternate and very plausible explanation for the crossing of the Red Sea, placing it actually at the Gulf of Aqaba and Mt. Sinai in Arabia itself, as Paul said. But the article concluded with the assertion that “believing the wrong facts” about something no one can presently know cuts people off from Christ and they will be destroyed as “carnally minded” as Christ comes to destroy all who do not hold to the TRUE facts of the TRUE gospel.

At the same time, God has a way of making these things I write very much part of the press of my life. After writing about Moses' awful night between his wife and his uncircumcised son, I found myself caught in a situation astonishingly similar, not to the same degree, thank God, but of the same kind.

Right now, I am hardly able to write because I had to make a decision fast and now the fear that I made the wrong decision, and that it will bear against us with horrific consequences does not lift, no matter how thoroughly I give thanks and place myself entirely into Jesus and He in all that is me.

I feel, once again, caught between Egyptian armies and an impassible barrier that just seems to have no opening or way through.

Turning the gospel of Jesus Christ into a bully club to beat and rail against dear believers in Jesus who thought they loved Jesus, thought it turns out they are “cut-off” from Him because they do not hold to the true facts is so abhorrent to me. Yet this hatred of God's people seems to fill so much of what is called “gospel truth.”

Let me give a hint, something I am driving towards in the Day of Atonement. You can tell God's true ministry; they will contend with God for the sake of ALL who call upon Jesus' name in some way. Their hearts will be so filled with the passion of the Lord Jesus towards all who lift up their hands to Him that they will willingly take upon themselves any consequences that might come from any limitation of Christ for the sake of the entire church, so that all these so dear to them might walk free with no shadow of loss.

You see, God does not even begin to change our minds until He has won our hearts. A heart that can cut-off millions of people or even one who thought they loved Jesus, without a concern, is a heart not won by God. Such a person can stumble across true facts, most certainly, but such a one will never speak Christ into you.

Thus my heart cries, right now, not for the facts, but for Christ revealed through us.

Here is Christ in the crossing of the Red Sea. – SEE the Salvation of God.

For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.

And then, after the children of Israel have crossed the Sea and are standing in awestruck wonder on the other side, looking back, here is what they see. – And Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.

Not one thing in the New Testament is about us approaching God or us coming into union with God or us becoming pleasing to God or us proving ourselves faithful and true.

Egypt is dead and gone; the old man is dead and gone – buried with Christ. Look where your old man was buried. Is he still there? No! Then where is he? He does not exist.

And he has not existed since Christ rose from the dead.

Thus EVERYTHING in the New Testament is Christ Himself coming now through us, God in us reconciling the world to Himself.

Yes, because we were once babes in Christ, the picture God presents is one of going from the outer court into the holy place and on into the Holy of Holies. Or of beginning with Passover, proceeding through Pentecost, and arriving at Tabernacles. But something happens when you sit down upon the Mercy Seat of God in the Holiest Place in the universe.

You have turned around. And now, everything is different from what you once thought.

Now everything begins with God upon the Mercy Seat, flowing out through His Spirit into all the concourses of life in this world.

No one who believes their hearts are evil, no one who holds to any memory of the old man lingering still, no one who considers their flesh to be anything other than God's dwelling place right now, regardless of any outward appearance, will ever sit down upon the Mercy Seat.

More than that, no one who is pretending, no one who is playing games with God for position or place in the face of others will even enter the Holiest let alone sit down upon the Mercy Seat. There is a barrier of fire, a barrier of mighty cherubs, turning them aside. They draw near, but never know that they cannot enter in.

You see, sitting down upon the Mercy Seat MEANS becoming ALL the POWER of God.

You want POWER? Here it is.

By this we know love because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

What is the very weakest possible position for the human IS the power of God revealed.

All things proceed forth from the Holy of Holies. All things come out of the Mercy Seat of God. All things begin with the Day of Atonement, the heart of God that causes both Tabernacles and Passover to exist.

Thus we must see Passover as absolute and total, the very picture God gives us twice doubled: Passover and crossing the Red Sea – the sacrifice of Jesus and our baptism into His death and burial.

Not one element of Adam is found in us – and never was. All that we are comes only out of the Lord Jesus Christ – and always has. He placed us here for His purposes and has led us inside Himself every moment of our lives. He fills us now for a very present purpose, God in us, God through us, reconciling all creation back to Himself.

Passover is for believing, that our faith might rest upon the Rock.

Passover is for speaking. “My children, this is God through me.”

You see, I could not write this morning until I had accepted fully my own limitation.

By Passover, there is no more “me.” By Passover, I no longer pretend.

By Passover, we SEE the Salvation of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, we in Him and He in us. By Passover we see nothing else ever again.