Keith Hunt - Passover Study #1

                      PASSOVER
                     IS FOR ALL
                       PEOPLE

                         by

                     Keith Hunt



     At this time of the year the Jewish and Sabbath keeping
Church of God communities turn their minds to TWO great
historical events - both events provable by secular history and
both recorded in the Bible. These two events were separated by
approximately 1500 years; yet they are  intricately tied
together.

     The FIRST of these two great events to occur in world
history was the coming of the Israelites out of the bondage of
Egypt. The phenomenal miracles and events as recorded in Exodus
chapter 3 to 12 are also recorded in the secular history of Egypt
and other nations who were witnesses to those events. The Jewish
people themselves bear witness that those happenings did occur. 
The miracle which people remember most of all is the miraculous
life preserving protection God gave to the Israelites on the 14th
day of Abid, when He told them to kill  LAMB (a male - without
blemish), and smear the doorposts with its blood. When the death
angel passed over that evening of the 14th those who were under
the blood of the lamb were saved from death and miraculously
brought out of bondage to serve God in a new life.

     As the Passover feast is celebrated, the Jewish people will
look back to that event and give God praise and honor for His
love, grace, and protection. 
     The Sabbath observing Church of God communities will look
back to the SECOND great event of this season - an event of about
2000 years ago, when a Jew by the name of Jesus observed His last
Passover on this earth.
     The year was 30 A.D. (as proven by many historical facts),
the 14th of the first month. That year it was from Tuesday
evening to sunset Wednesday evening.  As this day drew close, and
came upon them, Jesus and His disciples prepared themselves to
observe this Passover meal. As the meal was under way Jesus
arose, took a basin and towel, and with humility washed the
disciples' feet (John 13:4-5).
     He then told them He had set them an example that they
should do and teach others to do as He had done (verses 14,15;
Mat.28:19,20).  
     Still later during that Passover meal, Jesus took a piece of
unleavened bread - broke it - gave a portion to each disciple and
told them to eat. It represented His broken physical body for our
physical sins and sicknesses and healing (1 Cor.11:23-24; 1 Peter
2:24; Isaiah 53:3-5). God is indeed our great physician.
     Next, He took the cup of the fruit of the vine, passed it
out among them and told them to drink. It represented His blood,
shed for the remission of spiritual sins (Mat.26:27,28). 
     Peter, later - after his conversion and receiving of the
Holy Spirit, knew that the Passover lamb given to Israel at the
Exodus, the lamb without blemish, a male, whose blood was poured
out - represented the true Lamb of God - Jesus Christ (1 Peter
1:18- 20).

     Christ did not abolish the Passover Feast. He fulfilled it,
and changed the symbols for His followers from the physical lamb
to the physical bread and wine. The Apostles and early New
Testament church followed the example of Christ and continued to
observe this Passover memorial feast. They now used bread and
wine in place of the lamb during "THE memorial" (original Greek
of 1 Cor.11:24,25) of Jesus' death. 
     Paul, writing to the predominately Gentile church at
Corinth, admonished them to continue keeping the Passover and
Unleavened Bread feast with sincerity and truth (1 Cor.5:7,8). 
     You see the Passover is not just for the Jewish people. It
is for ALL PEOPLE!  Because in Christ there is no more Jew or
Gentile - all are ONE (Gal.3:28).

     The physical pain, torture, and suffering that Jesus went
through on that fateful day of the 14th of the first month in 30
A.D. is seldom realized by most Christians. The pictures we see
today of Jesus on the cross is SO FAR REMOVED from the reality it
is like night from day.

     Jesus knew the prophecies in the Old Testament (Ps.22;
Isa.53) about the suffering He must now contemplate was to come
upon Him. He knew it was to be so terrible, brutish and
agonizing, that He actually asked the Father THREE times to spare
Him this torture (Mat.26:36-44). He was agonizing about this so
much that some of His blood vessels broke and "His sweat became
like great drops of blood falling upon the ground" (Luke 22:44
RSV). Medical science now knows this is quite possible, and have
even given it a special scientific name.

     After Jesus was betrayed, they took Him to the High priest.
There they SPAT upon Him in mocking furious anger. They
blindfolded Him and STUCK Him. He could not prepare Himself for
the blows. They came swiftly, suddenly, upon His head and face.
Not being able to see them coming He could not move with the
blows, but took them with full force. His already broken blood
vessels from His agonizing prayers in Gethsemane made Him an easy
victim for more broken facial skin. Then the husky powerful
guards joined in with repeated blows to His body and head (Mark
14:65).

     The soldiers at one point clothed Him in purple, put a crown
of thorns on His head, and mocked Him with caustic remarks,
laughing at Him, spitting upon Him, bowing with hypocritical
worship before Him. They even took reeds of some kind and, with
the crown of thorns still upon Him, beat Him over the head, the
razor like thorns plunging into His skull like dozens of needles
(Mark 15:16-20). 

     Pilate the governor could not persuade the people that Jesus
was innocent of any wrong doing. They wanted Him crucified.
Pilate finally consented to their desires. It is written: "and
having SCOURGED Jesus, delivered Him to be crucified" (Mat.27:26
RSV). The scourging of the Romans was, in itself, a monstrous
action. The scourge was made of cords or thongs of leather or
ox-hide, the sort with which slaves were beaten. They were
knotted with bones or circles of bronze. Sometimes the thongs
terminated in hooks, which would tear and strip the skin from the
bones. There was no legal limit to the number of blows to be
given. and the victim was often beaten mercilessly. Death was
often the result from this scourging (see Manner and Customs of
the Bible, by Freeman, page 392, old edition).

     Christ was scourged with the slaves' scourge, as the
prophecy in Ps.22 says: "I may tell all my bones." Jesus had His
skin torn from His bones after repeated lashes to His back,
sides, and around to His chest.

     After this horrendous beating, they led Him away. His upper
body and head a bloody mess of broken and hanging flesh, with
many bones of His body exposed. 
     So weakened from this torture He was not able to carry His
cross to the place of crucifixion, but they had to find another
to carry it (Mark 15:21).

     Jesus was taken to Golgotha and was there crucified.

     Crucifixion was the most shameful and degrading of
punishments. Reserved by the Romans for the foulest of criminals.
     From the book "Bible Manners and Customs" we learn that the
upright beam of the cross had a projected wooden peg. The
condemned man was first stripped of his clothes, then fastened to
the cross by iron spikes driven through the hands and feet. He
sat on the middle bar or horn and was in this situation left to
linger until death slowly came - usually in two or three days.
     But Jesus died in a matter of HOURS. He was nailed there
with His body already so marred as to be unrecognizable
(Isa.52:14). Many bones were out of joint, and plainly visible,
skin hanging loose or torn away completely (Ps.22:1,14-17). 

     Christ died quickly because of one event that has been
missed by nearly all modern translators of the Gospels. Only a
few translators (Fenton and Moffat, to name two) have preserved
the text as given in the original Greek.

     Matthew 27:49 should read:

     "But the others called out 'Let him alone, let us see
whether Elijah will come and save Him.'  But ANOTHER TAKING A
SPEAR, PIERCED HIS SIDE, when blood and water came out."
     Yes, a Roman soldier finally plunged a spear into the side
of Christ, drawing it out and shedding the remaining blood of
Jesus to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah 53:11,12. He then cried
with a loud voice and died.
     Later after Jesus was resurrected and appeared to doubting
Thomas, Jesus told him to place his hand into His side, into the
hole where they knew the soldier had struck Jesus with the spear
and killed Him. Jesus knew this would be proof for Thomas that He
was indeed raised from the dead. 
     Jesus was slain, put to death with a final spear to His
side. And his blood was shed for the sins of the world.

     The Passover Lamb was slain. The sacrifice for the sins of
the whole world was completed. The Old and the New Passover had
met. Deliverance from bondage was secured. God had given the
GREATEST PASSOVER ever to mankind. The Lamb that could take away
the sins of all people.

     "For even Christ OUR PASSOVER IS SACRIFICED FOR US.
Therefore, let us KEEP THE FEAST......" (1 Cor.5:7,8).

     Truly, God has given the Passover for ALL PEOPLES - for me
and for YOU!

                       ...........................

Written in 1983
by
Keith Hunt


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