LET MY PEOPLE GO…This is the phrase the Almighty used over and over again 3500 years ago during the spring season to announce His presence to world powers that had a stranglehold over the people who worshipped Him. They had cried out to Him, and He heard them. He announced His presence and His intention to free them through a series of plagues which rearranged their daily lives, decimated their national economy, wracked them with disease, disrupted their weather patterns, devastated their food supply, increased insects to unbearable swarms, and plunged them into darkness for days. Finally, with the 10th plague of death, even people who didn’t worship Him were brought to their knees.
Most of this sounds all too familiar in 2021. We should probably add some updated, personal observations to the list, too. Like the fact that our nation is fractured, and our leadership is in turmoil. Capitalism is struggling, and Wall Street is all over the place. Constant change now holds authority over our lives instead of our calendar. Even traditional worship as we know it has been rearranged, and its merits debated.
The iconic nation of Israel has been shaken. Last year about this time, the historic Wailing Wall was disinfected by workers wearing hazmat suits and gas masks. But not before every single prayer note in every single cranny had been removed from what many people revere as one of the holiest physical places on the entire planet. For the first time since Israel had regathered, there was no public memorial of Passover in Jerusalem. People celebrated in their individual homes, quarantined, just as ancient Israel was the night of the first Passover in Egypt when they were freed to worship Him in a way they had never done before.
All this is openly referred to by religious, and non-religious, as “an act of God". Indeed, it's no coincidence that this Holy Day of Passover is a memorial to the action of The Almighty when He delivered His people out of bondage and servitude to the authority of the world which inevitably keeps His people from worshipping Him as He deserves.
“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says, ‘Let my people go so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert.’ Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.’ ...The Lord said, ‘I will bring one more plague on Pharoah and Egypt. After that he will let you go.'"
"...About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die...This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household...Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast...Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.
"On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast...Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come." Exodus 5:1-2;11:1,4-5;12:1-3,6-8,11-15,17.
From this scripture, we understand why this festival to the Almighty came to be known as Passover and the following 7 days as Unleavened Bread. Referring to this appointed time of the Almighty, Paul makes the statement, “Christ, our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”1 Corinthians 5:7-8
These are the timeless words of Almighty God to His people 3500 years ago under the full moon of the 14th day of His first calendar month, which will begin at sunset the evening of March 27 on our 2021 Gregorian calendar. They are just as applicable today as ever, possibly even more so. God gave detailed instructions for all those who trusted Him. Following His instructions would bring life. Ignoring them would guarantee certain death.
The disciple John, who was present at Jesus’ death, writes in John 19:14: “Now it was the Preparation of the Passover…And he [Pilate] said unto the Jews, ‘Behold your king’” According to the Book of Jubilees written before 150AD, the timeline for Passover included Preparation Day on the 13th beginning between noon and 1pm, until 6pm, when the lamb would be slain and prepared for the Passover meal, eaten around 7pm on the evening beginning the 14th. (After the Temple fell in 70 A.D. there was no altar for a sacrifice, the timing of eating the meal changed to the current Jewish timeline of sunset-midnight on the 15th day.)
The slaughter of the lambs would occur at “twilight”, more accurately translated “between the evenings”. (There is a Hebrew word for twilight, not used here.) “Between the evenings” was understood until 200 BC to designate the hours of 3-5 pm, referred to as the 1st evening with the 2nd evening occurring at sunset. Nearby, the innocent, blameless Lamb of God publicly hung on the cross, dying. "Christ, our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.” 1 Corinthians 5:7.
The Passover Meal of lamb eaten on the 14th, is figuratively, Jesus, Himself. “…On the night when the Lord Jesus was handed over to be killed, he took bread and gave thanks for it. Then he divided the bread and said, “This is my body; it is for you. Eat this to remember me.” In the same way, after they ate, Jesus took the cup of wine. He said, “This cup represents the new agreement from God, which begins with my blood sacrifice. When you drink this, do it to remember me. This means that every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are telling others about the Lord’s death until he comes again.” 1 Corinthians 11:24-26.
“God gave Jesus as a way to forgive people’s sins through their faith in him." John 1:29 "God can forgive them because the blood sacrifice of Jesus pays for their sins.” Romans 3:25.
Sunset on March 27 on our 2021 Gregorian calendar is the beginning of the 14th day of Abib on God's calendar, the physical anniversary of the Lamb’s midnight blood covering marking the doorposts of the Israelites so the death angel would “pass over” them. Today God is giving detailed instructions through His Word for all those who apply the Blood of the Lamb to the doorposts of their hearts. “The wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23. “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’
God’s admonition for future generations of “passed over” chosen people is found in Exodus 12:26-27 “And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” The word “Passover” describing the sacrifice is the Hebrew word “Pesach”, refers to both the Lamb and the price paid for deliverance and the following day itself.
The lesson has not changed in 3500 years. But time is growing short. Be ready for your sure and swift deliverance. “This is how you will eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste, it is the Lord’s Passover.”
LET MY PEOPLE GO…