The Sign in the Passover Festival

I had looked at how the trial of Rsi Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Isaac was a sign pointing to the sacrifice of Jesus.  About 500 years have now passed since Abraham and it is about 1500 BC. After Abraham died, his descendants through his son Isaac, now called Israelites, have become a vast number of people but also have become slaves in Egypt.

The Passover Festival

So we now come to another v+ery curious drama that is centered through Moses and which is told in the sacred veda Exodus so named because it is the account of how  Moses leads the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt these hundreds of years after Abraham.  Moses had been commanded by The Creator God (Prajapati) to confront the Pharaoh (ruler) of Egypt and it resulted in a contest of wills between Moses and him. This contest has also produced nine plagues or disasters against Pharaoh thus far. But Pharaoh has not agreed to let the Israelites go so God was going to bring about a 10th and most final plague.  You can read the full account of the 10th Plague in Exodus through the link here and I urge you to do so because it is very vivid and it will help you in better following the explanation below.

This 10th plague decreed by God was that every firstborn son was to die that night except those that remained in houses where a lamb had been sacrificed and its blood painted on the doorposts of that house.  An Angel (Spirit) of Death would being passing through every house in Egypt.  The destruction to Pharaoh, if he did not obey, would be that his son and heir to the throne would die. And every house in Egypt would lose the firstborn son – if they did not sacrifice a lamb and paint its blood on the doorposts.  So Egypt faced a national disaster.

But in houses where a lamb had been sacrificed and its blood painted on the doorposts the promise was that everyone would be safe. The Angel of Death would pass over that house. So this day was called Passover (since death passed over all houses where lamb’s blood had been painted on the doors).

The Passover Sign

Now those who have heard this story assume that the blood on the doors was a sign for the Angel of Death.  But notice the curious detail taken from the account written 3500 years ago.

The LORD said to Moses … ” … I am the LORD. The blood [of the Passover lamb] will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. (Exodus 12:13)

So, though the LORD was looking for the blood on the door, and when He saw it He would pass over, the blood was not a Sign for Him.  It says quite clearly, that the blood was a ‘sign for you’ – i.e. the people. And by extension it is a Sign for all of us who read this account. So how is it a sign?  An important clue given is that after this event happened the LORD commanded them to:

Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for generations to come. When you enter the land … observe this ceremony… It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD’ (Exodus 12:27)

So the Israelites were commanded to celebrate Passover on the same day every year. The Jewish calendar is a little different from the Western calendar, so the day in the year changes each year if you track it by the Western calendar. But to this day, still 3500 years later, Jewish people continue to celebrate Passover as a festival every year in memory of this event from the time of Moses in obedience to that command given then.

Passover Sign pointing to the Lord Jesus

And in tracking this festival through history we can note something quite extraordinary. You can notice this in the Gospel where it records the details of the arrest and trial of Jesus (1500 years after that First Passover plague):

“Then the Jews led Jesus … to the palace of the Roman governor [Pilate]… to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover” … [Pilate] said [to Jewish leaders] “…But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?” They shouted back, “No not him…” (John 18:28, 39-40)

In other words, Jesus was arrested and sent for execution right on the Passover day in the Jewish calendar. Now if you remember from the Sign of Abraham, one of the titles given to Jesus was

The next day John (i.e. John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. This is the one I meant when I said ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me’”. (John 1:29-30)

And here we see how the Passover drama is a Sign to us. Jesus, the ‘Lamb of God’, was crucified (i.e. sacrificed) on the very same day of the year that all the Jews alive then  were sacrificing a lamb in memory of the first Passover that had occurred 1500 years previously. And this fact explains the annual timing of two holidays that re-occurs every year – a parallel that so few of us notice and even fewer ask ‘Why?’  The Jewish Passover Festival occurs every year at the same time as Easter does – check a calendar.  And this is why Easter moves every year because it is on Passover, and Passover is timed by the Jewish calendar which calculates the year differently than the Western Calendar.

Now think for a minute about what ‘signs’ do. You can see some signs below here.

Flag_of_IndiaThe flag is a sign or symbol of India.  We associate India with that flag so that we do not think of a rectangle with an orange and a green band across it.  No, we think of India when we see the flag.  The sign of the ‘Golden Arches’ is supposed to make us think about McDonalds. The sign of the ‘√’ on tennis player Nadal’s bandana is the sign for Nike. Nike wants us to Signsthink of them when we see this sign on Nadal. In other words, Signs are pointers in our minds to direct our thinking to the desired object.

The Passover account in the sacred veda of Exodus explicitly said that the Sign was for the people, not for Creator God, (though He would still look for the blood and Passover the house if he saw it).  So here is a sign God has given. As with any sign, what did he want our minds to think of when we look to Passover?  Well the sign, with the remarkable timing of lambs being sacrificed on the same day as Jesus, must be a pointer to the sacrifice of Jesus.

Ipassover signt works in our minds like I have shown in the diagram here about me. The sign was there to point me to the sacrifice of Jesus.  In that first Passover the lambs were sacrificed and the blood spread so the people could live.  And thus, this Sign pointing to Jesus is to tell us that he, ‘The Lamb of God’, was also given as a sacrifice to death and his blood spilt so we could receive life.

We saw in Sign of Abraham that the place where Abraham was tested with the sacrifice of his son was Mount Moriah.  A lamb died so Abraham’s son could live.  Mount Moriah was abraham signthe very same place where Jesus was sacrificed. That was a Sign to make us ‘see’ the meaning of his death by pointing to the place.  In the Passover we find another pointer to the same event – by pointing to the same day in the year.  A lamb sacrifice is once again used – showing that it is not just a coincidence of any event – to point to the sacrifice of Jesus.  In two different ways (through location and through timing) two of the most symbolic and important festivals (in the sacred Hebrew Vedas) directly point to the sacrifice of Jesus.  I cannot think of any other person in history whose death (or take any important event in life) is so foreshadowed by such parallels in such dramatic fashion.  Can you?

These signs are given so that we can have confidence that the sacrifice of Jesus really was planned and ordained by God.  This was to give an illustration that helps us visualize how the sacrifice of Jesus saves us from death and cleanses us from sin – the gift from God to all who will receive it.