Yeshua fulfills Pesakh completely

At the time of the Exodus, YHWH (God’s personal name in Hebrew, often translated as “the LORD”) told the people of Israel to have a “lamb for a household” (Exodus 12:3). Usually 10 people could manage to consume a whole lamb. Smaller groups joined together to form a chaverim, Hebrew for “a group of friends,” and that formed a mishpokhah, “a family group.” Paul talks about believers being the “household of God” (1st Timothy 3:15) because there is a “lamb for the household.”

The lamb was originally the firstborn of the flock. Parallel to that, Messiah Y’shua (Jesus) is the firstborn of God (Colossians 1:15).

Once the Passover was centralised in Jerusalem, those living far away were permitted to sell their lambs at home and then purchase a lamb in the Temple at Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 14:25-26). Y’shua was purchased in the Temple by some of the Pharisees for 30 pieces of silver from Judas who sold Him.

Later in Israel’s history, the king provided the lamb during the major periods of reform (2nd Chronicles 30:24 and 35:6). YHVH, King of the Universe, provided Y’shua, the Passover Lamb “who takes away the sin of the whole world” (John 1:29, 1st Corinthians 5:17).

The Passover lamb was chosen on the 10th day of Israel’s first month, called Nisan or Aviv, which is Hebrew for the month of “green ears” of barley in spring. The lamb was kept in the Temple precincts for four days to be examined for faults. Y’shua was in the Temple for four days before Pesakh, Hebrew for “Passover,” being questioned and examined by the chief priests, and Pharisees (Luke 20-21). No fault was found in Him. Pilate said three times, “I find no fault in this man” (John 18:38, Jn. 19:4-6).

Y’shua would have entered Jerusalem with the lambs that had been chosen for Passover. We know from Josephus that over 250,000 lambs were slaughtered during Pesakh in the 1st century. This would have taken place all day. It would have been very noisy, smelly and dirty. Y’shua was identifying Himself with the lambs and it was a picture of the nature/cost of sin.

From its inception, the Pesakh, referring to the lamb alone, was understood to have a prophylactic, or covering, effect. The Passover sacrifice was a zebah shelamim, Hebrew for “peace” or “communion” offering. In other words, it restored a right relationship between God and man, and the blood of the lamb was understood as having a covering effect.

The blood of the lamb in Exodus 12 was stuck on the doorway — lintel and two sides forming the Hebrew letter khet. The opening of the door would have been completely smeared with blood — representing that a death had already taken place within. (This is what convinced the makhit, Hebrew for the destroying angel of the 10th plague, to pass over those inside.) Y’shua was crucified on a stake that stood upright in the ground. The beam He carried was the crossbar to which his hands were nailed. There was a groove in the top of the upright stake into which the crossbar was dropped with Y’shua already nailed to it.

The blood on His head and hands corresponds to the lintel and the two sides. The Hebrew letter chet is the first letter in the word chai, which means “life.” When the Hebrews fled out of their homes after the angel of death passed over their houses, they passed from death to life through the “door of life.” In John 10:9, Y’shua tells us He is the “Door” to “Abundant Life”!

Not one bone of the Passover lamb was to be broken (Exodus 12:46). Y’shua’s bones were left unbroken as He gave up His spirit and died before the soldiers broke the legs of the crucified men to hasten death (John 19:31-32). (The victim had to push up on their legs in order to breathe.)

The Passover lamb by the first century was slaughtered in the Temple by huge numbers of Levites called into service for the hundreds of thousands of sacrifices that took place. Two men from each family brought their lamb; it was slaughtered by having its throat cut. The blood was poured over the base of the altar.

Then a pomegranate stave was pushed through its forearms and the two family men supported it while the Levite slit open the belly and removed the kidneys, liver and heart and all the fat. These were burnt as a savoury aroma before YHVH. The lamb was then taken home to be roasted, with another pomegranate stave inserted upright through the anus to the neck. The lamb was then roasted with its head upright, arms outstretched with its intestines wound around its head, according to the directions in Exodus 12:9. By the first century, it had become known as the “crowned sacrifice.”

This perfectly mirrors the image Y’shua made as He hung on the execution stake with the crown of thorns on His head. (By the way, the thorns were the curse placed on Adam after his sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:18).)

The Pesakh sacrifice effected a change of ownership. The Israelites were serving Pharaoh in Egypt (Ex. 1:13-14). They were called to serve YHVH instead (Ex. 3:12). The slaying of the firstborn brought their release from Pharaoh (Ex. 4:23). In Ex. 7:16, Moses tells Pharaoh they want to serve God in the wilderness. Pharaoh refuses to let them go. A battle ensues between Pharaoh and YHVH, but YHVH wins.

The Pesach lamb covers the lives of the Israelites. Pharaoh is a type of Satan, and Egypt is a type of the world system. By the blood of the Pesach, we are purchased from Satan to belong to YHVH. We have a change of ownership. Y’shua the Pesach is the purchase price — He is the firstborn of YHVH and the firstborn among many brothers. This is why 1st Cor. 6:20 and 1st Cor. 7:23 speaks of our “being bought with a price.” The Passover ceremony was to be performed at night and in haste (Ex. 12:11). We know from the gospel accounts that the trial of Y’shua took place hastily at night and that crucifixion of Y’shua took place in haste because the commanded rest — Shabbat — of Passover was approaching.

The Passover lamb was placed on the altar at the hour of the morning sacrifice (equivalent to 9 a.m.) and slaughtered “between the evenings,” the literal meaning of the Hebrew in Ex. 12:6 often translated as “at twilight.” “Between the evenings” was according to the Hebrew time schedule 3 p.m. in the afternoon. Y’shua went to the execution stake at 9 o’clock in the morning and died at 3 p.m. — at the same time as the Passover lamb. [For more on this timing, read “When Was the Wave Sheaf Offering and Yeshua’s Resurrection?”]

As the high priest cut the lamb’s throat, he shouted, “It is finished.” As Y’shua died, He cried, “It is finished!” He was, as the apostolic letter to the Hebrews tells us, both the High Priest and the sacrifice (Heb. 2:17).

Finally, the bread and wine of the Passover meal, or seder, are totally identified with the body and blood of Y’shua. By the first century, Jews understood that the matzah had a Messianic significance attached to it. It was known as “the Bread of the Coming One,” according to research by University of California at Berkeley professor David Daube in his “He That Cometh” speech in London in 1966. When Y’shua took the matzah and said, “This is My body,” His disciples would have understood that He was telling them that He was the Messiah — the Coming One. He was fulfilling their Messianic hopes.

Paul realized this. He wrote to the congregation in the Greek city of Corinth (1st Cor. 11:26-27), “this bread” with understanding that was attached to it. “This bread” represented thousands of years of Messianic hope and longing by the Hebrew people. It represented thousands of years of their waiting for YHVH’s promised One.

That was a momentous moment in history. YHVH had kept His promise. It was of the highest import. This was why members of the Corinthian congregation were getting sick and dying. They failed to understand just how very important “this bread” was. They did not have the same understanding that those Jews who believed in Y’shua would have had. This Bread was the awaited Anointed One, the Messiah.

Similarly, “this cup” effected the New Covenant. In the time period in which the Bible was written, no covenant could be made without the shedding of blood, and that symbolism survives today when we say, “cutting a contract.” That symbolism was hugely significant. The Corinthians were being allowed into Israel, but they failed to grasp the serious nature of this privilege. They had turned the Pesakh into a mere food and wine banquet (misteh) failing to understand it was an Appointed Time and a chag, Hebrew for “feast of YHVH” (2nd Chronicles 2:4).

“Y’shua, our Pesakh has been sacrificed for us. Therefore, let us keep the chag” (1st Cor. 5:7-8)!

Teacher: Susan Pierce

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