The last three plagues fall upon Egypt: the locusts, 3 days of darkness and the death of the firstborn. With this last and most terrible plague, Pharaoh is humbled before God and allows the people to leave without condition. In fact, he pretty much kicks them out. The rules for the Passover Seder and the festival of unleavened bread are also given in this parashah, as well as the Lord telling Moses that this is to be the first day of the year for the Jewish people.
The sacrifice of the lamb is very different here than anywhere else in the Tanakh. This lamb was to be chosen on the 10th day of the month (Nisan in the current Jewish calendar, Abib back then) and then taken into the house- separated from the rest of the flock and treated, almost, like a family pet. Then it was to be slaughtered in the late afternoon to evening of the 14th day, roasted whole over a fire and eaten in it’s entirety. Anything that was not eaten was to be burned up completely.
We always hear Yeshua referred to as the Lamb of God, and the Paschal (Passover) Lamb, and His sacrificial death is the ultimate sin sacrifice, through which we all are able to be forgiven.
We may be wrong in calling Yeshua the “Passover Lamb” because the Passover lamb wasn’t a sin sacrifice!
The Passover lamb was not a sin sacrifice: it was a friendship offering. There are 5 types of offerings, or Korbanot:
- the burnt offering- represents total submission to God’s will and the entire animal is burnt on the altar at the Temple
- the sin offering- this was for unintentional sins, and the part that was eaten was eaten only by the Kohanim (Priests)
- the guilt offering- this sacrifice was for any sins that may have been committed but the person is unaware of them. It’s like insurance, and the eaten part was eaten only by the Kohanim
- the food and drink offering- this is another type of friendship or thanksgiving offering, devoting to God the fruit or work of our labor. The items sacrificed are not naturally made but man-made items which we devote back to God. Whatever portion is to be eaten is to be eaten by the Kohanim
- The peace, thanksgiving or friendship offering- this was obligatory for survivors of life-threatening crises and included free-will offerings, and offerings made after fulfillment of a vow. The essential difference between the peace offering and all the other offerings is that only the peace offering is eaten by both the Kohanim and the one making the offering. This was shared between God, the Kohan and the one making the offering.
Thus, the Passover lamb that was slaughtered was not a sin offering at all- it was a thanksgiving offering (in Hebrew, Todah / תודה) so we can’t really call Yeshua the Paschal Lamb because that lamb was not a sacrificial death to absolve us of sin.
On the other hand, the peace offering was designed to bring us closer to God, as all the sacrifices were meant to do, and with Yeshua’s death the Parochet was torn from top to bottom, representing that the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the common person was no longer there. And this was an act of God because it was ripped from top to bottom, from Heaven to Earth, from God to Man. So when Yeshua died, His death not only was a sin sacrifice, as we would do on Yom Kippur, but was also a peace offering.
Yeshua’s sacrifice, the offering of His life, performed a dual purpose under the sacrificial system- the sin offering to cleanse us before God, and the peace offering to bring us in total communion with God.
The Passover was supposed to be shared with family and those who have been circumcised and joined to the people of Israel (sojourners with the people) and as such no one who is not a “Believer”, if we can use that term, is supposed to partake. I have shared my Passover seder with people who are not Jewish; in fact, Donna and I try to invite people who are not Jewish and have never been to a seder to introduce them to the roots of their religion. If anyone is a member of any of the Judeo-Christian religions, then the Passover seder should be for them since they are followers of God. How often have you heard me say that God has no religion? So if they believe in God then they should partake of the Passover seder. Well, that’s my feeling.
I also feel they should be made aware of the fact that God’s laws and rules in the Torah are valid for them, too. In fact, not just valid, not just a good idea, but required.
I think it is interesting that the Passover seder is probably one of the most well-known Jewish celebrations, and that Yeshua (Jesus) is called the Passover Lamb by nearly everyone, yet His sacrificial death was not the same as the passover lamb’s death. His death at Passover represented what the Yom Kippur sacrifice is to do. The two biggest Jewish festivals, Passover and Yom Kippur, were brought together in one event with the sacrificial death of Messiah Yeshua. He freed us from sin and brought us into communion with God, which is what is happening in the parashot we are reading tonight. We read how the people are freed, and soon the people come to Mt. Horeb (Sinai) and there they commune with God.
Is there a parochet still separating you from God? The curtain in the Temple was woven material, thick and heavy, but is there a parochet in your life that you can’t see? Do you obey the commandments that are in the Torah? Do you follow what God says to do? Do you believe that you should do as Jesus did?
I believe there is a parochet thicker, heavier and more impossible to penetrate than the one in the Temple of Solomon- it is called “religion”, and it is what separates us from God. It separates us from God because it rejects His laws (I am not just talking about Christianity- even within Judaism many of the Jews today who are reform or conservative ignore and reject Torah laws as obsolete) and acts, thereby, as an idol. The biggest complaint Yeshua had against the Pharisees was that they gave man-made traditions precedence over God’s laws. Rules made by people that take precedence over the rules given to us by God: this is what I consider the absolute definition of “religion.”
People need to read the bible, from Genesis through Revelations, and recognize it is one book, Christianity was not created by Yeshua (it was created by Constantine) and the commandments God gave us in the Torah are the only rules and regulations that we are to follow. At the end of Deuteronomy Moses writes that anyone who adds to or detracts from the laws written in that book will suffer all the plagues of Egypt. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have to deal with that.
Read the book, the whole book, and see for yourself that there is nothing “new” in the New Covenant and understand that Yeshua died so we could be free of sin once and for all, and that the parochet that was torn was supposed to stay torn.
Don’t let your ‘man’-dated worship of God repair the parochet.