<<liberation festival>>

Some thirty years after settling in Egypt the rulers began subjecting the Israelites to harsh conditions. After 400 years of increasing bondage and slavery God sent a series of afflictions (often termed plagues) to ‘persuade’ Pharaoh, the Egyptian ruler, to release the Israelites (Gen 15:13; Ex 12:40,41; Act 7:6; Gal 3:16,17). In each case, his answer was ‘No’. The tenth calamity, the severest of them all, was the breaking point and Pharaoh ordered his captives to leave.

On the day the Israelites left Egypt, the Israelites were to kill a lamb or goat in the afternoon and eat it on the night of the exodus (mass departure). The angel of death ‘passed over’ the houses of the Israelites because they were protected by the

The Israelites were protected by ‘applying the blood’. Is your life protected by ‘the blood of Christ’?

animal’s blood that had been applied to their doorposts. Their obedience to the directive of God ensured no harm came to them, the sacrificed animal was the means of their salvation. However, as the Egyptians had not applied any blood, the first-born son in every family and even among the beasts were killed (Ex 11:5, 12:1-32). Pharaoh finally bowed to God and released the Israelites; the exodus commenced their wilderness journey to the Promised Land.

Each year this miraculous Passover event is celebrated on the same, set day in the Jewish calendar, however, this varies with the western (Gregorian) calendar where Passover occurs during March or April and occasionally coincides with Easter whose observance is related to a moon phase (Lev 23:4,5). This one-day celebration, reminding the people of God’s deliverance, was immediately followed by the seven-day celebration of Unleavened Bread, reminding the people they were leaving the old life behind and entering a new way of living. The Passover was 50 days before the feast of Pentecost.

The Passover was part of the OT covenant ritual and  parallels the personal liberation (new birth) of believers in the NT but the OT sacrificial system was flawed (needing to be repeated) in contrast to the complete work of Christ (Heb 9:1-10:18). In both covenants, redemption was gained by a substitute giving their life in the place of another. The blood of Christ (replacing the sacrificial lamb) being applied to our lives protects us as we enter into freedom from the control of Satan (the worldly master in Egypt).

Christ celebrated the Passover meal with His disciples just a few hours before His arrest and ultimately the crucifixion. At that time He indicated it pointed to the New Covenant where Christ is termed our Passover Lamb because of His perfect and ultimate sacrifice (Jn 1:29,36; Rev 21:23).

So Communion is our Passover remembrance meal celebrating this release from slavery to sin in the old life by coming into the new life in Christ (1 Cor 5:7, 11:23-26).

See also: blood, church calendar, Communion, Easter, Exodus (Ex), exodus/the, feasts, Pentecost, plagues.