Passover and Israel
Please enjoy the article below from our friend Ephraim Frank in Israel. It is wonderful to know that Believers in Israel and those who are still dispersed will be celebrating His redemption, sanctification, and deliverance as one people. Next year, may we all do so in Jerusalem!
Shalom Fellow Israelite,
It is quite significant that it was at Passover time that YHVH declared Israel to be His firstborn nation; the only nation that would ever have this status before Him. Israelâ€™s birth as a liberated nation came as a result of the death of a lamb, and its blood having been smeared on the doorposts of the homes. I hope this year we will consider the importance of our unity as YHVHâ€™s redeemed firstborn nation, and what it means to be called an â€œIsraeliteâ€. Paul said that the feasts are but a shadow of things to come: May Abba grant us the ability to see beyond the shadows into the light of His redemptive work through the sacrifice of His lamb (Yeshua). The redemption of the firstborn (the nation of Abraham) means that the creation will be set free by a nation of the sons of YHVH, "saviors" who will come out of Zion and establish His kingdom, as it is written: "Then saviors shall come to Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom shall be YHVH's" (Obadiah 1:21; and ref. Hosea 1:10).
It was over 3,800 years ago, when the Elohim of Jacob sent His family down to Egypt to preserve them. Speaking to His servant Jacob, He said: â€œI am YHVH, the Elohim of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation [goy] thereâ€™â€ (Genesis 46:3). One of the Hebrew words for â€œnationâ€ is â€œgoyâ€. It is first used in the Tanach, in the Covenant that YHVH made with our forefather Abraham, â€œI will make you a great nation [goy]; I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessingâ€ (Genesis 12:2). One man, one Elohim, one Covenant, one national identity; this was at the heart of YHVHâ€™s plan for the redemption of the creation. The Elohim of Abraham set apart a man, and swore by His own name that his seed/sperm would become a great and holy (set-apart) nation.
When Jacob and his band of seventy souls arrived in Egypt, he found another family-member already down there. Joseph and his progeny had lost their identity and connection with their family of origin. Thus, Joseph's children were most likely uncircumcised when their grandfather adopted them, and in a sense formed a prophetic type of the lost tribes of Israel, that is the so called "Gentiles" or the vast company of nations that YHVH had promised to the forefathers. Paul discloses that this hidden company (treasure), in the nations, are those who have (even though uncircumcised) the "faith" of their forefather Abraham (ref Romans chapter 4). Moreover, in Egypt the Children of Jacob also multiplied profusely. This too was a prophetic picture, of a time in which their numerical increase would encompass the entire earth.
Jacobâ€™s family, living in Egypt, eventually became slaves to the lords of the land. While in that state they lost their vision of being a nation, a family and a people with a purpose, and a Divine call. This is portrayed quite vividly in the scene of the two Hebrew slaves, who were fighting one another to their own demise (ref Exodus 2:13). The embittered seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was now characterized by survival instincts. This was only natural, since they were living under extreme conditions, where their captors debased them into mere sub-human slaves. So where was this great nation that was promised to Abraham? His seed, now turned slaves, were cursing the day of their birth. They had become nothing more than dead dry bones in the desert sands of Egypt. So helpless were they that they could not even respond to Moses, when he came to them preaching the good news of their deliverance (ref. Exodus 6:9)!
The Passover story is replete with pestilence, famine and one disaster following another. But when gross darkness covered the land, there was still light in the tents of the Hebrews (ref. Ex.10:23), as the anointing of YHVHâ€™s covenant word (which â€œis a lightâ€, ref. Ps. 119:105) was still upon them to become a great nation. How was this going to be made possible? It certainly was not going to happen by the nationâ€™s own strength. It was going to take a miracle, a Divine intervention. YHVH, therefore, dispatched a man with a message: â€œLet My people goâ€. Moses was faithful to bring that word to the ruler of the slaves, but YHVH hardened the heart of Pharaoh, just to make sure that His people would know that their deliverance was not going to come by the way or authority of man. Had Pharaoh given his permission, these Hebrews would have been forever indebted to their master. They would perpetually be looking to him as their deliverer, and thus would not be able to take up their divinely ordained position as the head of all the nations. In this manner, they would have been bound to Egypt.
YHVH had His plan of restoring these slaves to freedom and to their national identity. He told His servant Moses to,
Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: `On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man's need you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb.then you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. 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 12:3-5; 21-22; 13).
The moment the elders applied the blood to the lintels and the doorposts of the Hebrewsâ€™ homes, the latter were sealed into deliverance, freedom and destiny. But even beyond that - their dependency on man has just come to an end. They were now united behind the one sacrifice, totally dependent upon the powerful right arm of the Almighty to bring them out. â€œLet My people go!â€ YHVH had already announced to Egypt's rulers to whom these people belonged. This was a people that did not belong to itself. They were and still are today â€œMy people, [â€œamiâ€ -singular] says YHVHâ€. But now, through the blood of the lamb, they were set apart to enter into the next phase of His plan. â€œAnd you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel" (Exodus 19:6).
Whereas harsh conditions and bondage reduce human beings to mere existence, effacing their individual uniqueness, affluence can also keep one in bondage to extreme individualism. Therefore, as we, Israelites (Ephraim and Judah), YHVHâ€™s two families of His one People Israel, gather together to honor Him during this yearâ€™s Passover, let us leave our individualism and lift up the cup of unity. Remember that we all were once slaves to sin and death and bound to the principalities and powers of this worldâ€™s (kosmos) dominion. It behooves us to,
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; (nor with strife, contention, bitterness and unforgiveness) but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Cor. 5:7-8).
May we walk together through the Door that is splattered with the blood of the Lamb, out of the houses of our bondage and into the liberty of the new corporate life of the â€œOne New Manâ€. The wall of partition in the House of Jacob has been broken down, so let us serve one another in the nature of the new creation person (Yeshua) who is the embodiment of the Royal Priesthood and Holy Nation Israel, Elohimâ€™s firstborn!
May you all be blessed during this Passover and Feast of Matzot (unleavened bread) with a sense of national unity! May the eyes of our hearts be opened anew to the fact that we are â€œMy people Israelâ€ in this generation.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there YHVH commanded the blessing--Life forevermore (Ps. 133).