Last night at dusk marked the beginning of Passover, and today March 28 is the 1st Day of Passover. This Jewish Holiday commemorates the freeing of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Yesterday I discussed the importance of this Holiday to Christians (here), and why we should at least be very aware of Passover though we don’t celebrate it. The Hebrew word for Passover is Pesach, which means to “pass over.” The book of Exodus tells this story in both the Christian Bible and the Hebrew Bible. We have six video Sunday messages on Exodus (here), (here), (here), (here), (here), and (here).
The Jewish Texts
The Torah is the Holy Book of the Jewish people and is written in Hebrew on parchment paper. The Torah contains chapters from the Books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The Talmud is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law and Jewish theology. Midrash and rabbinic readings “discern value in texts, words, and letters, as potential revelatory spaces”, writes the Hebrew scholar Wilda C. Gafney. “They reimagine dominant narrative readings while crafting new ones to stand alongside, not replace, former readings.”
Discerning these texts
I mentioned in my post yesterday that truly understanding the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the New Testament is literally impossible without first understanding the Old Testament. As Christians we must spend as much time in study of the Old Testament as we do in the New Testament. At Moyock Christian Fellowship we made a very conscious decision to start our Sunday Bible Bites series in Genesis and go from there. As you can see above, we spent six weeks on the Book of Exodus which is central to Passover. As Christians we are where we are today because of the suffering, Exodus from Egypt and Freedom of the Israelites. The Exodus sets the stage for everything that follows.
Our roots in Christianity are mentioned over 800 times in the Old and New Testament. Romans 11:18 (KJV) says “Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.” In easier understood terms this verse says, “remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.” It’s important that we remember Jesus was a Jew, and early Christianity still had close ties to Judaism until Roman expression entered the scene. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” In easier understood terms he said “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” In essence what Paul is saying here is that we cannot be ignorant of the past (the Old Testament), and this is why we are in study of the Old Testament today at MCF. There is so much more meaning in Paul’s writing here, and we will save that for another day.
Second Traditional Scripture Reading of Passover
Exodus 12 – King James Version
21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the Passover.
22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
23 For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.
24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
31 And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said.
32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.
33 And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.
34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.
35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:
36 And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.
40 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.
41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.
42 It is a night to be much observed unto the Lord for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the Lord to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.
43 And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:
44 But every man’s servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.
45 A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof.
46 In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.
47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.
48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.
49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
50 Thus did all the children of Israel; as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
51 And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the Lord did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.