Jump to content


Photo

Passover


  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
49 replies to this topic

#41 Resource Manager

Resource Manager

    Forum Management

  • Administrators
  • 14421 posts

Posted 28 June 2020 - 09:51 AM

A.D.70
 
Jesus, about to suffer at Passover, paused to warn those who pitied him concerning the wrath that would inevitably fall on the city: “Then shall they say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.”
 
Jonah, the prototype of death and resurrection, had proclaimed: “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”
 
Now, in a time of greater death and resurrection: “Yet forty years, and Jerusalem shall be overthrown.”
 
It began at Passover. The army of Titus closed in on the city at a time when it was overcrowded with worshippers confident not only of Passover protection but also of the city’s strong defences and vast stores of food.
 
Nebuchadnezzar’s siege had lasted a full year. But now, for the elect’s sake, the days of misery were shortened. Just five months later, a period clearly traceable in Bible prophecy, the city fell to the Romans, and there was carnage indescribable.
 
Earlier, Jesus had warned: “When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then let them which be in the midst of her depart out.” What must have sounded at the time like lunatic advice turned out to be the best possible.
 
The opportunity for flight came. The advice was heeded. Faithful believers went for their lives to the nearest city in the territory of the Agrippa to whom Paul preached, and thus found safety – not through their own resourcefulness, but through the protecting care of a Passover angel. But all through the siege, and in its end, “the destroyer” treated the chosen race as though they were so many ignorant faithless Egyptians. Such misery, such suffering!
 
“Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me but for your children.”
 
All this was foretold by Amos:
 
“The songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord God: there shall be many dead bodies in every place ... And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation ... and I will make it as the mourning of an only Son ... I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the word of the Lord: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it” (Am. 8:3; 10-12).
 
What a contrast with that first Passover in Egypt!


#42 Resource Manager

Resource Manager

    Forum Management

  • Administrators
  • 14421 posts

Posted 28 June 2020 - 09:53 AM

13. HEZEKIAH’S PASSOVER
 
(2 Chronicles 30)
 
Seven years before the death of Ahaz the northern kingdom had been completely overrun by the armies of Sargon II. His father, Shalmanezer V, had begun a protracted siege of the capital, Samaria, but had not lived to see the city capitulate. The northern tribes had not been consolidated as an Assyrian province. Sargon was too fully occupied in ceaseless fighting on his other borders, so after the cream of the population had been deported, the territory between Galilee and the Mediterranean was left a disorganized no-man’s-land. The Syrians had had too many batterings from the Assyrians to find the vigour to fill the vacuum by expansion southwards.
 
So when Hezekiah came to power, he immediately saw his opportunity to bring the remaining people of the Ten Tribes back to the God of their fathers. It was evident also that a united Israel would be in a much better position to resist any further Assyrian aggression.
 
Quickly he conceived the plan of getting all the people, from all the tribes, to join in a mighty Passover of thanksgiving and re-dedication. The fact that, at the re-dedication of the temple, sacrifices were offered for “all Israel” shows fairly clearly that this idea of Hezekiah’s was in his mind from the start. He set the scheme going without a moment’s delay. Nevertheless the cleansing of the temple proved to be too big a task, so that when Passover time came, no one was ready.
 
However, certain emergencies preventing participation in the Passover were covered by what has come to be known as “the little Passover,” held a month later, by the permissive ruling of Moses’ Law. (Numbers 9:10). Guided by the prophets in their midst (30:12; 29:25), Hezekiah and his counsellors agreed to make use of this alternative, and decided on a major effort to bring all the twelve tribes to Jerusalem for a Passover, in the second month.
 
“Come to Zion!”
 
So messengers went out from Jerusalem to every corner of the country with appeals and exhortations that with one heart the people “turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” The king’s admonition was very forthright in character: “Be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren which trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see.” The allusion was to the double spoliation of northern Israel which had already taken place. At least twenty years earlier, Tiglath-Pileser had taken off into captivity the tribes of the east bank of Jordan (1 Chronicles 5:26). More recently Shalmanezer and Sargon had meted out similar treatment to their compatriots on the west of Jordan (2 Kings 17:6).
 
The letter from Jerusalem put the issue with the simple logic of faith: Apostasy and captivity were cause and effect; then, conversely, “if ye turn again unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that led them captive, so that they shall come again unto this land” (cp. Psalm 106:46).


#43 Resource Manager

Resource Manager

    Forum Management

  • Administrators
  • 14421 posts

Posted 28 June 2020 - 09:53 AM

The Response

 

This wholesome appeal met with a very mixed reception. Some “laughed the messengers to scorn, and mocked them.” The lesson of recent bitter experiences was not learned yet. Others, however, “humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem.” These came from Asher, Manasseh, Zebulun, Issachar and Ephraim. A like enthusiasm swept through Judah (including Benjamin and Simeon, which also belonged to the southern kingdom), carrying with it many who hitherto had gone unaffected by Hezekiah’s reforming zeal so that for the first time since the coronation of David (1 Chron. 12:38) the people were “of one heart.” It was “an exceeding great congregation” which assembled for that Passover – not unduly great compared with what the nation could have mustered, had there been unanimity and no captives in distant lands. But certainly, when the dark and evil days of Ahaz were brought to mind, it was a multitude to marvel at.

 

At the appropriate time, “between the two evenings” (Exodus 12:6) – that is, between the time of the evening sacrifice and sunset (Matthew 14:15,23) – an immense number of lambs were slain, and that night the feast was observed with great rejoicing.

 

The seven days of the feast of unleavened bread were also kept with undiminished enthusiasm, although observance of it was not obligatory. The people took great delight in the splendour of the fine musical service Hezekiah had re-instituted. Besides this, the “Levites, that taught the good knowledge of the Lord,” were encouraged to use their opportunity to the full.

 

Enthusiasm

 

The holy week ended, people were loath to go home. This Passover had stirred them beyond all they had thought possible. So the suggestion came up spontaneously that their re-dedication to God should be signified by continuing their Bible School for another week, precisely as in the reign of Solomon when the temple was first dedicated (1 Kings 8:65). This idea was adopted with enthusiasm.

 

There was no puritanical hairshirt austerity about this extended service of God. For all, it meant not only holiness and thanksgiving for the memory of God’s providence in the past, but also an intensely joyful acceptance of present benefits. To help this spirit of godly festival, the king and his princes donated immense numbers of oxen and sheep for peace-offerings. These, sanctified by dedication at the altar, meant rich feeding for these worshippers in addition to the fine spiritual fare they enjoyed.



#44 Resource Manager

Resource Manager

    Forum Management

  • Administrators
  • 14421 posts

Posted 28 June 2020 - 09:54 AM

Irregularities
 
This extension of the feast for a second week was by no means the only irregularity at this Passover. Strictly, “the little Passover” was for those defiled by contact with the dead or for those who had been away from home on a journey at the normal feast time (Nu. 9:10). It could hardly be said that these two special exemptions covered more than a very small proportion of that great multitude. Nevertheless the spirit of that rule was invoked to cover the other unusual circumstances of this great occasion.
 
Then, too, the Law prescribed that the people themselves were to be responsible for the actual slaying of their Passover lambs (Ex. 12:6). But since many of them were not ceremonially purified for the feast – “for the thing was done suddenly” – the slaying of the lambs was taken over for such people by the Levites.
 
Yet more seriously, “a greater part (Heb.) of the multitude of the people ... did eat the passover otherwise than it was written” – that is, because of their uncleaness. Aware of this, Hezekiah foresaw the possibility of plague breaking out among the people in the same way that retribution had come on Israel in the wilderness (Ex. 30:12; Num. 14:37; 16:46; 11:33). So he took on himself the priestly responsibility of intercession on their behalf. In the Holy Place of the temple was a gallery over its east door which was used as the royal oratory. By ascending to it, without actually entering the Holy Place, the king could look down on the priest burning incense before the Lord, could contemplate all the awe-inspiring detail of the Cherubim of Glory inwrought in the tapestry of the veil, and could plead more directly for divine help and blessing than in any other way.
 
This Hezekiah did: “The good Lord pardon every one (Heb: especially) that prepareth his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.” That simple expressive prayer was heard, and thus the people were saved from the stroke of God.
 
There is something quite marvellous about the spirit which actuated both king and people in this extraordinary Passover. What a contrast between their repeated unpenalised infringements of the letter of the Law now and the frightening retribution meted out on other occasions. Nadab and Abihu – the nameless sabbath-breaker – Korah, Dathan and Abiram – Achan – Uzzah – the young men at Bethel: such a dire, though incomplete, catalogue rams home the needful lesson: “I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me.”


#45 Resource Manager

Resource Manager

    Forum Management

  • Administrators
  • 14421 posts

Posted 28 June 2020 - 09:54 AM

Fine Religious Spirit
 
Yet at this time Hezekiah and his people “had faith in God and did as they pleased” (Luther’s paradox). Nowhere could the lesson be better taught or learned that motive is all-important. Where circumstances are difficult, let a man express the spirit of God’s commandment as well as he is able, and the Almighty will graciously take the rest as read.
 
Thus “there was great joy in Jerusalem.” The people were aware that in several respects they had not kept the commandment as strictly as they ought, yet they knew themselves to be accepted by God and forgiven for their pious monarch’s sake. “Since the time of Solomon, the son of David the king of Israel (the time when the temple was first dedicated), there was not the like in Jerusalem.”
 
Even Gentiles shared the intense religious fervour of the occasion. Not only strangers living in Judah but also others belonging to outlandish tribes who had been brought in by the Assyrians to replace the thousands deported from Israel – these too were given a warm welcome to all the religious celebration except the actual eating of the Passover (for that they had to be circumcised; Ex. 12:48,49). So although Israel was not fully gathered, the royal Servant of the Lord was glorious in the eyes of God, becoming a light to the Gentiles (Is. 49:5,6).
 
The great commemoration of past deliverance came to an end. Faith was restored. Once again the people truly believed that the God of their fathers was with them – Immanuel! The priests pronounced a solemn blessing from God, and sent them happy to their homes.


#46 Resource Manager

Resource Manager

    Forum Management

  • Administrators
  • 14421 posts

Posted 28 June 2020 - 09:55 AM

14. THE SECOND COMING AT PASSOVER?
 
Before settling down to detail in this chapter, it is perhaps desirable to remind the reader of a feature of Bible prophecy which rarely receives the careful attention it deserves.
 
It is this:
 
Practically all Bible prophecy has a discernible relevance to the times and events when it was first written. Thus, for example, it is possible to expound all the diverse and profound chapters of Isaiah’s prophecy with reference to the exciting events of his day, especially regarding the reign of king Hezekiah. Similarly a big proportion of the psalms light up most impressively when the historical circumstances which led to their composition are taken into account.
 
But that is only half the story – and the lesser half, at that! For detailed study and the authority of the New Testament combine to require a further reference of these prophetic Scriptures to the purpose of God in Christ, either in his first or second advent, or maybe both. So it is imperative also to study those chapters of Isaiah afresh seeking the more important Messianic meaning. And Psalms of David and Hezekiah must also be studied as Psalms about Messiah.
 
In this two-fold approach to prophecy the twin interpretations are found to be consistent. They lean on each other. Very often the latter-day fulfilment can be helped out considerably by the earlier contemporary reference about which there is often more clear-cut knowledge.
 
It is to be expected, then, that just as such outstanding events as Sennacherib's invasion and Hezekiah’s grievous sickness and the great Jubilee of his reign loom large in both history and prophecy of the time, so also such an important feature as Passover observance (see the previous chapter, and 2 Chr. 30) is almost sure to find copious mention also.


#47 Resource Manager

Resource Manager

    Forum Management

  • Administrators
  • 14421 posts

Posted 28 June 2020 - 09:55 AM

Sennacherib and Passover
 
So tremendously successful was Hezekiah’s great Passover that it is impossible to believe that it was not followed by others, even though they are not specifically mentioned in the history. Indeed it can be inferred, with a high degree of probability, that Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem took place at Passover time, so that those among the nation whose piety took them from all parts of the country to the sanctuary of the Lord found themselves provided with safety and salvation in the only city which the ruthless Assyrian was unable to capture. The destruction of Sennacherib’s army was another Passover deliverance, a mighty angelic stroke on behalf of the desperate oppressed people of God.
 
The Passover passage in Isaiah 31:5. already discussed in chapter 8. has an immediate Assyrian context:
 
“As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it... Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him; But he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited ... saith the Lord, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem” (31:5,8,9).
 
There is no lack of passages of this sort.
 
“Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept (the only feast of the Lord observed at night-time is Passover) ... And the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones. For through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod.” (30:29-31).
 
“Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be over past (all of this is Passover language). For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain” (26:20,21).
 
“Look upon Zion, the city of our set feasts: (Passover?): thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down” (33:20) – Jerusalem, the only city Sennacherib could not capture.
 
“Woe to Ariel, to Ariel (the hearth of God), the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year (Passover is in the first month); let the feasts come round" (29:1). The next seven verses all have obvious relevance to the siege of Jerusalem and the decimation of the Assyrian army.
 
And when the history (37:37) says that “Sennacherib departed ... and dwelt at Nineveh,” there seems to be a play on “Nisan” in the Hebrew text.
 
This is by no means all the evidence available to suggest that the great deliverance from the brutal Assyrian enemy took place at Passover time, but there is surely enough here to be going on with.


#48 Resource Manager

Resource Manager

    Forum Management

  • Administrators
  • 14421 posts

Posted 28 June 2020 - 09:56 AM

A Further Fulfilment
 
The next important step is to observe that the first five passages out of those just quoted all seem to have definite reference to a greater deliverance of Jerusalem in the Last Days. In each case the context seems to require this; and indeed it is expected that most readers of these words will need little persuading that such is the case. It looks very much as though the entire complex of thrilling events in Hezekiah’s time was divinely designed to foreshadow a yet more exciting fulfilment in the time of the Lord’s coming.
 
If that is the case, then may it also be tentatively inferred that since the crucial time was a Passover when the great enemy railed against Jehovah and His anointed, and judgement was meted out against his impiety, so also will be the main shape of events yet to come? And if that be so, would it not seem to follow that the future crisis to which the prophecies look forward will also take place at a Passover?


#49 Resource Manager

Resource Manager

    Forum Management

  • Administrators
  • 14421 posts

Posted 28 June 2020 - 09:56 AM

Other Scriptures
 
Researching elsewhere in Scripture, one encounters other indications suggesting the same conclusion.
 
First, Joel: “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain (or, a teacher of righteousness – a remarkable but possible alternative; see AVm), and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the latter rain in the first month" (2:23) – and there follows an impressive picture of Messianic blessing after Israel’s final tribulation.
 
Jesus was born, very probably, at about the time of the early rains just after the Feast of Tabernacles. And this prophecy seems to indicate that he will come again at the time of the latter rains just before Passover. This conclusion finds support in the references in the next verse to Pentecost (“floors full of wheat”) and to Tabernacles (“wine and oil”).
 
When Hezekiah persuaded many from the northern tribes to come to Jerusalem for Passover, because the cleansing of the people was not completed in time the feast was held a month later (2 Chr. 30:13, 15).
 
So very many things in Hezekiah’s reign are given a Messianic meaning by Isaiah that it becomes legitimate to consider whether his important late Passover will not also have a corresponding fulfilment in the Last Days. (See “Hezekiah the Great,” HAW, ch. 22).
 
Psalm 75 is a pointedly Messianic prophecy with a vivid picture of the cup of judgment in the hand of the Lord (v.8; cp. Rev. 14:10). There is also this: “When I shall find the set time (RV), I will judge uprightly” (v.2). Here “set time” is the word mo’ed which (about 150 times) refers to one of the feasts of the Lord.
 
So also in Ps. 102:13: “Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time (mo’ed again), is come.” Thus, judgment on the great enemy of God’s Israel and blessing on Zion are both to fall on a feast of the Lord – the same feast? a Passover like that so strongly implied in Isaiah? “At midnight (cp. Ex. 12:29) I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments” (Ps. 119:62).
 
Daniel and Habakkuk appropriate the same terminology in their prophecies of the end time:
 
“Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed (mo’ed) the end shall be” (Dan. 8:19).
 
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time (mo’ed), but at the end it shall speak, and not lie” (Hab. 2:3).
 
Is it not remarkable that so many prophecies use such specific nomenclature about the Last Day? Even if they didn’t, one could surely expect that the divine time-table would be geared to the holy occasions which saints in Israel set such store by? And this instinct is reinforced by the pointed Passover references made by Isaiah time after time.
 
The last witness on this matter shall be the apostle Peter:
 
“Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless" (2 Pet. 3:14). Here are two Passover phrases (from Ex. 12:5,11 LXX) which in his Greek text Peter is careful to put side by side in order to reinforce the Passover idea. It looks as though he too was guided to expect the Lord’s coming at Passover.
 
There remains, however, one other consideration which could slightly affect the conclusions reached in this chapter.
 
Jesus referred to himself as “a noble-man going into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom.” But the law of Moses took account of such circumstances. It laid down that a man “in a journey afar off yet shall keep the passover unto the Lord on the fourteenth day of the second month at even” (Num. 9:10,11).
 
Thus there is the possibility of the Lord’s return coinciding with the “little Passover” one month later than normal.


#50 Resource Manager

Resource Manager

    Forum Management

  • Administrators
  • 14421 posts

Posted 28 June 2020 - 10:00 AM

THE LAMB OF GOD
 
Great God of the wind, 
of the earthquake and fire, 
who flashes the lightning 
or bids it retire, 
who crashes the thunder 
or quiets its ire, 
who speaks in the storm 
or the still, small voice 
or the gentle Lamb, 
the man of thy choice.
 
O Lord, when thine anger 
is seen in the plagues, 
when the mountains surge 
and the wild waves rage,
 when defiant actors 
on the worldly stage 
are destroying themselves 
in the wars they wage, 
let thine angels grant us 
a peaceful calm,
 preserved from evil 
and kept from harm,
that we may then 
hear thy still, small voice 
through that Paschal Lamb, 
and with him rejoice.
 
Philip Jones

Attached File  PassoverWhittaker.pdf   482.49KB   4 downloads





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users