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A Night To Be Much Remembered
Many are familiar with the first Passover observed in Egypt by Israel, Exodus 12. Even before this memorable event, however, presageful incidents carrying gems of truth heralded the actual event as far back as Genesis 4. Bible truths taught here and continuing up to the point of the Exodus (chapter 12) give us deeper insight into the significance of Passover and the ceremonies connected with it.
    In spite of the direct command not to eat of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, both Adam and Eve ate of it and were driven out of the garden.
Passover Offering in Genesis
Yahweh made known to Adam and his progeny that they could please Him through sacrifices. Now, outside the garden, the two sons brought special sacrifices:
    And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto Yahweh. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And Yahweh had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And Yahweh said unto Cain, Why are you wroth? And why is your countenance fallen? If you do well, shall you not be accepted? And if you do not well, sin lies at the door. And unto you [shall be] his desire, and you shall rule over him. (Gen. 4:3-7)
    Notice the account starts with the statement, “In the process of time it came to pass…” The Hebrew reads, “At the end of days.” The sense is that time went along and suddenly a special event arrived. Something important was about to take place that some Bible scholars maintain was the time of the first Passover.
    Notice that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground, crops that he had raised and harvested. His offering was the works of his hands. Abel, on the other hand, brought of the firstlings of his flock. Not only did he bring firstlings but he also brought something extra: the fat of the animals, which was really not required.
    Abel brought the proper sacrifices above what apparently Yahweh required. Notice the difference: Cain brought what he had harvested, the works of his own hands. Abel approached Yahweh through the blood of the lamb, a sacrificial animal! Obviously this pointed toward the Passover sacrifice, and ultimately to the death of Yahshua the Messiah. Blood was shed in Abel’s sacrifice as he came before Yahweh. No wonder we read the following commendation in the faith chapter:
    By faith Abel offered unto Elohim a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, Elohim testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaks. (Heb. 11:4)
    In his human effort to reconcile himself to Yahweh, Abel acted out the Passover sacrifice by offering a sacrificial lamb. Cain perhaps arrogantly brought a harvest or Feast of Tabernacles offering, the last feast of the year, ignoring all other annual Feasts.
    It should also be pointed out that Yahweh Himself made garments of skins of animals whereby He clothed Adam and Eve after they had made themselves aprons of fig leaves to cover themselves. Thus, Yahweh sacrificed animals, shedding their blood, to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness with animal skins.
    This is a type, indicating that Yahweh will ultimately provide His people with special garments acceptable to Him. Yahweh clothes His saints with the garments of salvation:
    I will greatly rejoice in Yahweh, my soul shall be joyful in my Elohim; for He has clothed me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isa. 61:10)
    Note the “garments of salvation” are also described as “robes of righteousness,” which are put on those who obey Yahweh’s laws and accept His Son as the propitiation for our sins.
    And I said unto him, Sir, you know. And he said to me, these are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Rev. 7:14)
Leaving the Sin of Egypt
Each Passover we celebrate the salvation of Israel from Egyptian bondage. It was a time of joy as the slaves were given their freedom and loaded down with gifts from their former masters. They were starting on their way to the Promised Land.
    What a beautiful picture! Just as ancient Israel was spared in the first Passover’s slaying of the firstborn, we accept the blood of the Lamb as a sacrifice for our past sins. In answering the high calling we have in Yahshua the Messiah, we realize we are a type of the firstfruits, and because of the great promises given us, we strive the more to be in that first resurrection.
    Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of Yahweh and of Messiah, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Rev. 20:6)
    With our past sins forgiven, we are determined, with Yahweh’s help, to repent and turn our life around and follow the Savior’s example of right living. Israel left Egypt, a sophisticated, worldly, cosmopolitan society, to seek the Promised Land. We, also, are leaving our old, worldly ways and bad habits behind as we begin our trek toward the Kingdom. We are careful to make our calling and election sure.
    Israel had the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night to guide them. We have Yahweh’s promise and His guidebook in the Old and the New Testaments to direct us and give us instruction for every facet of life. We are also given the promise by the Savior that He would never leave us nor forsake us. The Holy Spirit from Yahweh continues to guide and keep us in the narrow way.
    Upon accepting our Savior’s sacrifice, our walk will seem at times to be a lonely one. Many obstacles will be ahead of us, and we can expect to be tried. Yahweh does not want us to “play church.” He is looking for those who, like Abraham, obediently left Ur of the Chaldees (Gen. 12:1-3), being uncertain what was in store for him.
    Abraham believed the promises of Yahweh even to the point of being willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac, whom he loved (Gen. 22). Just as Yahweh so loved the world that He sacrificed His only begotten Son, Abraham also was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac, if need be, thus proving his faith by willing obedience. Are we willing to prove our faith by being obedient in keeping His Passover?
    And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide you here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. (Gen. 22:5)
    Abraham showed that he believed in the resurrection by telling the young men that he and Isaac would return from Mount Moriah. Abraham passed a most stringent test and continued in faithful obedience. To this day Abraham is known as “the father of the faithful.” We need the same faith and obedience Abraham had.
Isaac a Type of Messiah
Tradition has it that Abraham left Ur at the season of the Passover. His faith in Yahweh was tested many times. He was tested first to leave his homeland, forsaking his relatives and friends. He then had to live among the Canaanites who were totally absorbed in heathen culture and worship.
    He had to separate from his nephew Lot. For 25 years after coming into Canaan he awaited the birth of Isaac until he and Sarah were beyond the prime of life. He apparently was fond of Ishmael, but had to send him away. Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, his “only” son Isaac, was surely the most difficult of all tests.
    “Only” means only in the sense of unique, one-of-a-kind, and special. Abraham’s only hope of fulfillment of the salvation-promise was Isaac. Interestingly, Hebrews 11:17 refers to this by the Greek word monogenes, the same word use for Yahshua in John 3:16. Isaac was clearly a type of Yahweh’s beloved Son (Matt. 3:17), Yahshua, the sacrifice for the sins of the world.
Passover at Year’s Start
The Passover, we learn, is to be on the fourteenth of the month of Abib (Hebrew, meaning “green ears”). It is in the spring when the earth again comes to life in the northern hemisphere. The spring rains have ceased. The warming sun brings on green grass, while the fragrance of flowers and budding trees again fills the air. The birds return for the summer and the earth is bursting with renewal.
    Abib is the true beginning of the new year with its new growth.
    January, which falls in the dead of winter in the northern hemisphere when snow covers the ground and cold north winds sweep the land, is not the proper time to start a new year. Yahweh said to us through Moses: This month [Abib] shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. (Ex. 12:2)
    Not only is this month the beginning of the religious year in Yahweh’s calendar, but it also brings us Passover, a renewal of the Covenant that we have made with Yahweh. When our hearts and minds have been opened to the truth of Yahweh’s word and we understand that we are called and set apart for a special purpose, we have an inner desire to be immersed into the saving Name of Yahshua.
    Being baptized into Yahshua’s saving Name means that we are sorry for our sins and want to be forgiven of them. When we are baptized into His saving Name, all past sins are washed away, and we stand before Yahweh justified, just as if we had never sinned.
    We are now cleansed from our past and can start over in a new life. Once purged of our reprobate past, we determine to walk in a new life of obedience to Yahweh’s Commandments. It is this willing obedience to Yahweh’s Commandments that sanctifies us and gives us the garments of righteousness.
Making a New Commitment
Passover is Yahweh’s call to the new convert to accept the salvation He has made available through His Son Yahshua. We accept His shed blood as the atonement or ransom price for our sins that are past because we accept Yahweh’s sacrifice of His Son, the “Lamb that takes away the sins of the world:” Whom Elohim has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of Elohim. (Rom. 3:25)
    Just as ancient Israel left Egypt and headed for the Promised Land, so we make a commitment each year at Passover when we remember the cruel beatings and impalement of our Savior. We meditate on Yahweh’s plan for mankind and realize that one day soon He will send His Son back to this earth to end the madness and corruption that is rampant today. Yahshua will rule with a rod of iron, and will put a stop to wars, hunger, disease, calamities, crime and murders, and finally bring us peace.
    He is seeking a group of people who are also seeking real answers to our present world problems. Conditions will degenerate and worsen as problems grow and intensify. He wants those who are willing to follow Yahweh’s Commandments and learn of Him.
    He wants those who are teachable and of a willing heart to be in that first resurrection:
    Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has not power, but they shall be priests of Elohim and of Messiah, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Rev. 20:60)
Doctrinal Housecleaning
After we have accepted the sacrifice of Yahshua for our sins, then we are to have a “spring housecleaning” of Ur doctrines, seeking only those truths the Bible teaches. We are to have a fervent desire to stop sinning, to stop doing those things for which our Savior died. This attitude is central to the Feast that immediately follows Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
    Paul tells us that once we accept Yahshua’s Passover sacrifice of His life for our sins that we are to clean up our thinking, to have new goals, new attitudes, new aspirations. We are to leave our old ways and bad habits behind. Because we have accepted the sacrifice of the Savior we are to turn from the old “leaven,” old teachings, false doctrines, corrupt habits. Now we are to follow the example of Yahshua and become pure in our thinking, our attitude, and set proper goals for this life:
    Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Messiah 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. (I Cor. 5:7-8)
    The Passover is followed by a special seven days in which we desist from eating anything leavened, but seek the pure bread of life, the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. We strive to be obedient in physically not eating leavened products, so that we will be more deeply impressed with spiritual truth.
The Savior Kept the Passover
Passover precedes the first of the seven annual Feasts of Yahweh. Passover and the following days of Unleavened Bread were observed by the Savior through His childhood and young adult years and His three-year ministry.
    Because He is the true Passover, which all previous observances pointed to, we would be wise to hold that memorial service as He instructed His disciples. This includes the footwashing as given in John chapter 13 and the other Passover accounts in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
    There is no doubt that just before His death the Savior kept the Passover and did so with His disciples at the right time. He directed them to prepare the Passover, saying, “I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples,” Matt. 26:18 and other places. Nowhere do we find the disciples questioning His intentions.
    Peter said we are to do what He did, when He did it, I Peter 2:21. Yahshua kept the Passover the same night in which He was betrayed, according to Paul, I Cor. 11:23. He died on the tree about the time the Jews, who were following the Pharisees’ teaching, were belatedly killing their Passover lambs. They were keeping Passover at the end of the fourteenth (one day late), just as they continue doing in our time.
    To this day Rabbinic Jews continue to follow the Pharisees, who merged Passover with the days of Unleavened Bread. This is admitted in the Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol. 13, article: Passover, page 169,
    “The feast of Passover consists of two parts: the Passover ceremony, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Originally, both parts existed separately; but at the beginning of the exile they were combined.”
    Consider what Yahweh says about these special times:
    And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and you shall keep it a feast to Yahweh throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever. (Ex. 12:14)
    Take special note: it is “this day” which is to be kept for a memorial, not the exact manner of observance. We may not keep it precisely as did the Israelites anciently by sacrificing an animal. But the day itself is to be kept as a memorial. It is to be observed as a feast, a special gathering. It is to be observed forever!
    Throughout the Book of Leviticus we read of the command, “It shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations!” These appointed times (which, in the Hebrew, is moed) are to be kept forever by Yahweh’s faithful people. These days were given to Israel as a part of the Covenant Yahweh made with them, and were written down as a continual reminder for us.
    The New Testament shows that Yahshua kept the Passover and the Feast days. His disciples kept the Passover. Paul kept them (Acts 18:21) and encouraged the Corinthian converts to observe them:
    Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Messiah 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. (I Cor. 5:7-8)
Feasts in the Coming Kingdom
Yahshua said that He would again keep the Passover anew in the Kingdom. See Matthew 26:29, Mark 14:25, and Luke 22:18.
    The Old Testament prophets tell of the Feasts being held in the Kingdom:
    In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, you shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten. (Ezek. 45:21)
    In the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month, shall he do the like in the feast of the seven days, according to the sin offering, according to the burnt offering, and according to the meat offering, and according to the oil. (Ezek. 45:25)
    Isaiah spoke of the worship being from Sabbath to Sabbath:
    And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, says Yahweh. (Isa. 66:23)
    Other Bible verses confirm that the Feasts will be observed in the Kingdom. Yahweh said that His Feast would be kept by an ordinance forever.
    We on this side of Golgatha observe Passover as a memorial of the Savior’s having given His life for the sins of the world. Passover is not a Feast day (Hebrew = chag, joyous, happy time), but along with the annual Feasts it will be observed again, but likely with a deeper and new meaning.
    They will likely recall the Savior’s return to this earth where He will gather the remnant of His flock and bring them to Zion. There He will establish His rulership and rule this earth with a rod of iron, Rev. 2:26-27.
    We are being called now to become a priest and teacher in that Kingdom. It is up to us to learn all we can of these moedim (appointed times) of Yahweh so that we can help others now in this life as we prepare for our role in the Kingdom:
    Blessed and holy [is] he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of Yahweh and of Messiah, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Rev. 20:6)
    When we come to a knowledge of the fantastic future in store for those who are faithfully keeping Yahweh’s New Covenant through the grace given us by Yahshua, our zeal increases in hope!
-Elder Donald R. Mansager

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