Walking Free With The Passover Lamb in Me
Walking Free With The Passover Lamb in Me
by Lonnie Lane
I woke up with a song going through my head, not one I’d ever heard before. The words were, “There’s light in the kingdom when darkness surrounds, where our feet are planted on holy ground.” With Passover just around the corner I got to picturing what it must have been like in Goshen when the Hebrews could see darkness all around them but it was light where they were. Now that’s cause for some serious rejoicing.
The Hebrews experienced the first few plagues just like Egypt did. Maybe it was just enough to convince them that God was seriously judging Egypt and that He had the power to do what Moses was telling them He was going to do—set them free!!! It had been about ten generations that they were in Egypt, seemingly slaves for a number of those generations. I would imagine it would be hard to believe they could actually be free, that the God of their ancestors from generations back had not forgotten them and He was going to do what He promised to Abraham after all. Maybe it took the first few plagues to realize this was really happening, the promises of God were about to take place. Makes me think that if things ever look bad and we as Believers are having to suffer what the unbelievers are experiencing, keep the faith. It’s not the end of the story. There’s light in the kingdom when darkness surrounds! Keep your feet planted on holy ground and wait for God. His deliverance is on the way!
Have you noticed that the mercies of God sometimes come in strange ways and in unsuspecting packages? It does appear that it was hard to believe those first few plagues were God’s way of letting them know that He was opening the gates of freedom to them. But God’s ways are ALWAYS redemptive for His people, no matter what it looks like along the way. Even in difficult times, they can serve to make us aware that God really does intend to keep His Word – all of it and He will make Himself real to those who are looking for Him. That’s what faith is, looking for God to do what He said He would do. Sometimes we have to look where logically it would seem the least likely to our natural minds. Y’know, like finding the new-born Messiah in a feeding troth in a barn, for one. God doesn’t operate on logic. His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). His are bigger. Much bigger. And holier.
Well, you know who doesn’t want us to be aligning with God’s Word and thinking His thoughts? The devil. That’s for sure. He wants to try and ruin any testimonies of God’s power. That’s his motive for robbing the church of the knowledge of God that’s in the Old Testament. The Hebrews were the witnesses of God’s greatness, His holiness, and His power. They were the bearers of the testimony of His sovereignty in what He had already done for them and the bearers of the promises of what He has yet to do for them as well as in the world. The church, as we’ve said before, has been robbed of so much through having had things Jewish removed from its worship and concepts of God and His ways. Take Passover, for instance. Passover is the greatest revelation of God aside from the Resurrection that the world has ever seen. God overcame the greatest empire at the time and political power, their gods and their witchcraft and sorcery, proving all satan’s tactics and ‘tricks’ to be impotent and powerless against God.
Each plague was a judgment against one of Egypt’s gods. As you may be well aware, all those plagues represented an object of worship: The Nile, frogs, insects, and the sun. Also Pharaoh was thought to be the
“Passover is the greatest revelation of God aside from Resurrection that the world has ever seen.“
human manifestation of the sun god, and his first born was to be the next Pharaoh. God showed Egypt that power was His and they had no real power of their own. As for the death of the first born, Egypt was reaping what their Pharaoh had sown when he ordered the little boy babies to be drowned in the Nile about the time Moses was born. Now their own (first born) sons were dying. Not one household was without at least one first born or more; not one house was without a death. Even the first born of the animals died. Death was everywhere. How did they handle this? A mass burial? What about the animals? How did they deal with all the practicalities of burying all the dead. The challenge was enormous, physically and emotionally. The Exodus 12 account tells us that sorrowful wailing could be heard throughout Egypt. But not in Goshen.
The Hebrews had obeyed what God told them to do through Moses and Aaron and had put the blood of a lamb on their doorposts so that the angel of death would “pass over” their homes and not one who did so lost any first born. They had been told on the 10th of Nissan to take a lamb, one without defect, and keep it in their homes until the 14th of Nissan, at which time every Jewish family was to slaughter their lamb and then roast it over a fire. If there weren’t enough of you to eat it all, then they were to share it with their neighbors. Eat it ready to go, said the Lord. Eat it in faith that you are leaving. The whole lamb is to be eaten. Any leftovers were to be burned so the entire lamb was consumed. Don’t take time to let the bread rise, eat it unleavened so it can cook quickly so you’ll be ready to go when the signal is given. What anticipation there must have been.
They did have enough time to go to their neighbors and ask for their jewelry and gold. Having suffered greatly through the plagues, by the time the first born were dead, the Egyptians would have given them anything just to have them leave. Now it’s the Egyptians that fear the Hebrews. All that gold that was used in the tabernacle later was Egyptian gold. All those jewels that decorated Aaron’s breastplate were Egyptian gems. Where else would they have come from? Slaves aren’t given to having jewelry of their own. God saw to it that they had what was needed and He blessed them with wealth as they “plundered” their enemies. “The wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous” (Prov 13:22).
When the Hebrews left and walked out of their slavery and bondage, every person had in them a portion of lamb. We know that Yeshua was referred to by John the Immerser as “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:9). Passover is the shadow of the deliverance to come through Yeshua in many ways. The blood on the doorposts kept death from their doors, just as the blood of Yeshua keeps us from spiritual death and restores us to life in God. We no longer have a fear of death knowing we have resurrected life in Him so satan can no longer hold us captive because of a “fear of death” (Heb 2:15). When the Hebrews walked away from their captivity, each one had a part of a lamb within them! We each walk away from the captivity of sin and judgment when we have the Lamb of God within us! Yeshua lives in those of us who are born again. Therein is our victory and our freedom.
The new life in God that the Hebrews now had was wrapped in God’s supernatural provision abounding to them through the cloud to keep them in the shade during the day, through the pillar of fire to keep them warm in the desert cold at night, through the manna that fed them, through the water that came miraculously over and over again all sufficient for a couple of million people! Though their slave-mindset sometimes kept them from really appreciating all that God was doing for them, nevertheless, the deliverance from a power far too great for the Hebrews to overcome on their own, was accomplished by God on their behalf. He commanded Israel to retell this story to their children year after year at the same time of year so they would always remember how God came to set them free. It is a testimony that Israel belongs to God and that He will act on their behalf as they keep their faith in Him. And so, for millennia, Israel observes the Passover and retells the story, even to this day. Even non-religious Jews, even those who aren’t even sure about God altogether, will still participate in a Seder, the retelling of the story. That has to be God’s keeping power, don’t you think? Each year Jews everywhere tell the story of how God judged Egypt’s gods by proving them to be powerless through the plagues and how He set the captives free,
Through freeing the Hebrews God showed Himself as God, the only God, revealing all the false gods to be no gods at all. Including Pharaoh. Well, satan was certainly defeated there, wasn’t he? Egypt was his best shot, his most successfully deceived nation. Their witchcraft and sorcery, their magicians and soothsay
“We each walk away from the captivity of sin and judgement when we have the Lamb of God within us!.“
ers all amounted to nothing. It all fell apart by God’s sovereign design. Can you imagine how much satan must hate the re-telling of that story? Over and over, year after year he is shown as the loser. Remember, it is not about flesh and blood, that is to say people, that we deal with in conflict, “but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). In other words, behind the affairs and conflicts of men is often the conflict between God and His enemy. Satan is actually a title, not a name. It means adversary. An adversary is one who is adverse or against you as an antagonist, an enemy, opponent, foe, rival, The evil one is all those things toward God. One thing he’s against is God looking good and him looking like a defeated foe. So he had to do something to keep this Passover story from being told year after year. He had to put an end to the retelling of his defeat.
I can just hear satan plotting out his tactics: “The easiest way to end that story and every other story of Yahweh’s God-ship and His testimonies is to get rid of the people who are the witnesses and the boasters of His ways, the Jews, those Hebrews. Their feasts are declarations of God’s promises and demonstrations of His Lordship – they gotta go. And that Shabbat thing. Urgh! They get to rest in His presence and think His thoughts on that day. They spend it strengthening their family ties. And worse, the Sabbath is about honoring God as creator of the earth. I need to get them to forget all that.” This is all hypothetical, of course. It’s not a direct quote but you knew that, right? Of course you did.
And so what does satan manage to do? By “inspiring” the leadership in the highest rank, the emperor of Rome, namely Constantine, satan manipulates things so that there is now a mixture of the religions of the empire, though it is called Christianity. Constantine and other “church” leaders in a council in AD 325 took Yeshua’s death and burial, and to a lesser degree His resurrection, making it, along with what they also included, the State religion, thereby connecting it with the government. Had they been reading the Old Testament and God’s requirement for justice and equality and His admonition to have no other God’s before Him, they might not have done what they did. But they didn’t. They did the opposite. They spurned the conviction that is resident in the Old Testament and took a stand against it instead. They outlawed all things Hebrew from what they are still calling “the church.” We are so used to it that we don’t realize the travesty that this represents. No longer was the Passover story told. No longer was the picture in the people’s minds of a deliverance from a power too great for them. Rather, now they are under Roman rule, even in “the church” and the general population came under the domination not just of a political dominion but of a spiritual one as well as the church took on more and more control and legislated what they saw as salvation, which was loyalty to the now apostate church.
So you see that satan wanted to remove any testimonies of the Lord from the church that would give people reason to trust Him for great deliverances. They were left without any sense of God setting them free from oppressive dominating leadership. Nor was witchcraft and idolatry and the worship of anything or anyone (like the emperor, for instance) revealed as the worship of false gods who will prove to be useless. Remember that this decision of the church leaders turned off the light of God’s Word which resulted in the onset of the “The Dark Ages.” This time it was satan who brought about his own kind of darkness causing tremendous oppression, immeasurable suffering and a terrifying death due to the plague to millions. And without the Word of God and the truth, superstition was rampant and fear of demons and fear of death led to many a tormented soul for which the church was no help but rather exacerbated the fear. Should someone do something that was cause for excommunication from the church, the church told them that they had the power to send them to hell. To be ousted from the church was to lose your salvation. Never mind that the church leaders were often more corrupt than its members. Theirs was the power and they had their own sense of glory. But it certainly was not God’s.
In all this, satan had managed to keep Passover and other Hebrew feasts and God’s entire Word to the Hebrews from those who wanted to follow God. So, now you can see why the restoration to the true church of an understanding of God’s ways with Israel, of Torah, and of the Old Testament altogether is so very significant. It’s a reversal of satan’s attempts to destroy God’s credibility and His Lordship over the church. Passover is a wonderful time to enter into what God has done for His people. It is a time to celebrate the mighty deliverances He brought to Israel and the greater deliverance He brought through the Lamb of God who “took away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Passover is also a wonderful story about how God cares about the least, about the downtrodden and the oppressed. He cared enough to come for slaves when Egypt (and of course satan himself) saw them as non-persons and had no care for their needs, their pain or their suffering. The death and resurrection of Yeshua is about His pain and His suffering on our behalf so that He opens the gates of freedom to the least and the least deserving of us and offers us deliverance, freedom and an upgraded social position as He “gave us the right to become the children of God” (John 1:12).
When Passover was taken out of the Christian experience it was replaced with a pagan holiday which was the celebration of a self-proclaimed goddess named Ishtar who had her own brand of resurrection. And so the resurrection of Christ (no longer called Messiah) was mixed with other pagan ideas so that He was no longer recognizable as the Man He was. The influence of Ishtar was pervasive throughout the empire and had been a prominent religion for centuries. She was the wife of Nimrod. Remember him? The builder of the tower of Babel? When he died she proclaimed herself a goddess and established a mystery religion that spread far and wide and is still with us in many forms today. In order to pacify everyone in the empire, Constantine had amalgamated several religions which together were identified as Christianity. Celebration of the resurrection was connected with the fertility symbols that were associated with Ishtar such as rabbits and eggs. Ishtar is pronounced as Eeshtar, or Eester (!). Even the Easter ham was a worship object which Ishtar made mandatory in her religion.
God had told Moses that the month of Nissan was to be the first month of the year. Everything God was doing with Israel for the rest of the year began with the deliverance He brought to Israel. It was the foundation upon which the nation was built. Before the Passover deliverance from Egypt, the children of Israel were a family of clans, but the Exodus, as we call it, made them a nation. Beginning the year with Nissan keeps Passover and all we learn of Him toward us in the forefront of our relationship with God. It’s a beginning, a time of newness, a reminder that we have been rescued by God to be His own people. That the resurrection took place during Passover is the greatest fulfillment of prophecy and of beginnings. It’s a time of newness not only for Israel but for the whole world. Starting the year with Passover gives us a renewed awareness of how great and how good our God truly is.
It is not surprising then, that for satan to complete his work of obliterating Passover from the Christian consciousness, he had the calendar changed. Yes, I do believe satan was behind this change taking place. An emperor some time after Constantine had a monk redesign the calendar to align with the Roman god Janus and so January became the first month. Now the calendar was honoring a false god instead of being a testimony to the saving power of our almighty yet most gracious God.
How important is it to celebrate Passover today? Passover is our anchor point as it is the foundational understanding of what Yeshua brought to us through His death and Resurrection. Why is God restoring Passover to His people today? I believe it is to “prepare…the way of the Lord’s coming” (Matthew 3:3). More and more churches as well as Believers on their own are opting out of the paganism that has been in the church for centuries and celebrating the resurrection on Passover when it took place. There is a growing longing for truth in the true Body of Messiah in these days. “The Father is (still) looking for those who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23, 24 KJV, my addition).
How do you keep Passover? you may ask. While there is an order of service that can be observed called a Seder, the Seder is based on tradition. What God required is that we tell the story to our children, however you choose to do it. Usually it’s done over a meal, preferably of lamb, and including matzoh. The first 12 chapters of Exodus will tell you the story which you can then retell to your children, or each other.
The important thing is to celebrate in joy and freedom. Ask God to direct you. It is more important to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit than tradition.
May you enjoy this holiday as never before, rejoicing in the celebration of the deliverance that God has brought to those of us who believe in Yeshua. May He put a new song in your heart too. I’m still singing. This time the words are, “I’m walking Free With The Passover Lamb in Me.”
Hag Sameakh. (khag sah-MEHY-ahkh). Joyous Holiday.
Reprint of this article is permitted as long as you use the following; Use by permission by Messianic Vision, www.sidroth.org, 2009.
Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.