Skip to comments."Father, Forgive Them" (Sermon for Good Friday, Chief Service, on Luke 23:32-43)
Posted on 04/02/2010 9:03:42 AM PDT by Charles Henrickson
Father, Forgive Them (Luke 23:32-43)
Its Good Friday, and Jesus is led away to be crucified. Crucifixion was a method of execution that the Romans used, throughout their empire, but not on their own citizens, since it was the most brutal and degrading form of execution they could use. Crucifixion was extreme, slow, cruel, and, for them, not so unusual a punishment, done to common criminals, as a public display that served as a deterrent, to keep the masses under control and keep order in the realm. The Romans didnt mess around.
So Jesus is led out with two criminals to be subjected to this public death on a cross. He is placed smack dab in the middle of these two wrongdoers, just like hes one of them. And yet, what wrong has he done? In his ministry he has done only good. Spectacular good: healing diseases, feeding multitudes, casting out demons. Sublime good: speaking as a prophet sent by God, teaching Gods word with heavenly wisdom. Supreme good: forgiving sins, calling sinners to repentance, seeking and saving that which was lost. Yes, Jesus has done only good, nothing wrong, in his ministry. And yet they crucify him.
But what is even more amazing is the first word that comes out of his mouth, as this righteous man is now hanging there nailed to a cross. Jesus lifts up his head to his Father and prays, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Now this strikes us as strange for a couple of reasons. One, to be in such agony and pain, unjustly, and to have the thought to pray for those who have just put you on that cross--that is amazing. Who would do such a thing? Pray for their forgiveness? Wouldnt we rather be calling out for revenge, for vengeance to be visited upon these evil men? Wouldnt we be crying out, maintaining our innocence in the face of such cruel injustice? Yet Jesus does none of this. Instead, he prays, Father, forgive them.
And the rest of that sentence--that too strikes us as strange: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Huh? It seems they know exactly what they are doing! They hate Jesus and they are putting him to death, getting this problem out of the way. They know not what they do? Really? And is Jesus implying that, because they know not what they do, they are therefore not responsible for their actions, that they bear no blame, no culpability, for this legalized crime that they, his crucifiers, are committing? What can Jesus mean by this they know not what they do?
Who are the they? Maybe he means only the Roman soldiers who physically drove in the nails. Those men were only doing their duty, after all. How were they to know who this guy in the middle was? Is that it? No, its more than that, much more. The they includes all those responsible for his death. It includes the Jewish Sanhedrin, those council members who hated Jesus and had him handed over to Pilate and who stirred up the crowd to cry out Crucify! Crucify! Even though Jesus opponents hated him and did wrong in getting him killed and bore the responsibility for that--indeed, they were guilty of sin; why else would Jesus pray, Father, forgive them?--still, in their wrongdoing, they acted in ignorance. They truly did not know what they were doing, they did not realize what a great sin they were committing, in condemning this man. For this Jesus is, in truth, Gods beloved Son. This Jesus is the Author of life, Gods Chosen One, the Christ, the King of glory. The ignorance of the Jewish leaders did not remove their guilt, and so Jesus prays for their forgiveness--and pays for their forgiveness, as well.
Who are the they that Jesus prays for when he says, Father, forgive them? Thank God it includes all of us! You and I would not have known who Jesus is, would not have truly known him, unless God had revealed Jesus to us, through the gospel, to be the very Son of God come in the flesh, to save us from our sins and save us for life everlasting. We would not have known that. And yet our sins, your sins and mine--our transgressions and iniquities and wrongdoings are included in the huge pile of sins Jesus is paying for as he hangs there on the cross. You and I as lost and condemned sinners, we are included in our Saviors wonderful prayer, Father, forgive them. Jesus prays for our forgiveness. Jesus pays for our forgiveness, with his holy precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death.
By his death on the cross, the Son of God is paying for the sins of the whole world, purchasing forgiveness for all sinners, in all times and places. His blood covers us all. His prayer is interceding for us all. Jesus blood and Jesus prayer covers both Jews and Romans, jealous council members, hand-washing governors, nail-driving soldiers, mockers and bystanders, weeping women, common criminals--and yes, even good, churchgoing Lutherans.
Father, forgive them, Jesus prays. And one man takes Jesus up on his offer. The criminal on the cross next to Jesus--he begins to see who this righteous man is. There is something different about the man in the middle. The thief on the cross begins to think: This man doesnt act like any criminal Ive known. Hes a much better man than I have ever been or could hope to be. This man speaks with words touched with grace from heaven. He sounds like he knows this Father, the heavenly Father to whom he is praying. The people around keep mocking him. I hear them saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One! Could he really be the Savior? Could he be the Christ? The soldiers, too, they mock him: If you are the King of the Jews. . . . And that sign they put over his head, This is the King of the Jews. But could it be? Could this man Jesus actually be the King, the Christ, the Messiah? Condemned unjustly, dying unjustly, and yet he prays for their forgiveness. But what about me? Dear God, can there be forgiveness for me also? The thief turns his head and says, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.
And Jesus answers the penitents prayer: Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise. Here is the forgiveness delivered. Here is Holy Absolution announced. To all dying sinners who look to him in faith, Jesus promises, Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise. For by his saving death and resurrection, on Good Friday and Easter, our Lord Jesus Christ does come into his kingdom. This is how he has a kingdom to bestow. This is how he has a Paradise to share. The King wins the victory over sin and death and establishes a kingdom of peace and forgiveness and life. The Author of Life restores Paradise, and it will be even better than it was in the beginning.
Today you will be with me in Paradise. Paradise is to dwell in the presence of God forever, and Jesus restores that harmony, beginning even now. Today Jesus is here with us. At our death our souls will dwell securely with him in Paradise. And when Jesus comes again, at the Last Day, he will raise our bodies from the grave and recreate all creation new and glorious. There is both a now and a not yet in this word and work of Jesus. He comes into his kingdom now, his kingdom of grace. And he will come into his kingdom, fully and manifestly, when he comes again and ushers in the kingdom of glory. Now and not yet. Today and tomorrow and on into the eternal today of the Paradise to come, we are and will be with Christ Jesus our Lord.
What happens on Good Friday is very good indeed. Father, forgive them. Jesus prays for us and pays for our forgiveness. In response, we pray to our Savior, Jesus, remember me. And yes, penitent sinner, Jesus does and will remember you. Today you have the assurance of Christs kingdom of grace, his coming kingdom of glory, and his Paradise of eternal life, where we will dwell with him forever. Truly, this is a Good Friday.
Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with [Jesus]. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One! The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself! There was also an inscription over him, This is the King of the Jews.
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us! But the other rebuked him, saying, Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. And he said, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. And he said to him, Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.
This is about the Passover and how Jesus' Ministry was fulfilling the prophetic message of the "Seven Festivals" in Israel that Jews observed (and do observe).
It's from a work called "The Seven Festivals of the Messiah" ...
This is my post from almost ten years ago, here on Free Republic, about "The Seven Festivals of the Messiah"
The link works sometimes for me, but most of the time, it won't work on Free Republic (something about this post being too far back and before Free Republic changed the way posts were made). So, you may get it if you repeatedly hit refresh (as I have done before) and maybe not. But, the following is that post from about ten years ago...
This is a "chart overview" of The Seven Festivals of the Messiah ...
HISTORICAL APPLICATION OF THE FEASTS FEAST HISTORICAL APSECT 1. Passover Israel's deliverance out of Egyptian bondage 2. Unleavened Bread The going out of Egypt 3. First Fruits Crossing the Red Sea 4. Pentecost Giving the Commandments at Mount Sinai 5. Rosh HaShanah Blowing the 'Shofar' (trumpet) (Feast of Trumpets) Jewish New Year 6. Day of Atonement Priest entered the Holy of Holies Cleansing of the people's sins 7. Tabernacles Entering the Promised Land/Great Rejoicing MESSIANIC APPLICATION OF THE FEASTS FEAST MESSIANIC FULFILLMENT 1. Passover Death of Christ on the Cross (tree) 2. Unleavened Bread The burial of Jesus 3. First Fruits The resurrection of Jesus 4. Pentecost Pouring out of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) 5. Rosh HaShanah The resurrection of the dead/ (Feast of Trumpets) Rapture of the believers 6. Day of Atonement The day of Christ's Second Coming 7. Tabernacles The Messianic Era/Millennium SPIRITUAL APPLICATION OF THE FEASTS FEAST SPIRITUAL APPLICATION 1. Passover Repent and trust by faith in the shed blood of Jesus 2. Unleavened Bread Sanctification and separation from evil represented by water immersion (baptism) 3. First Fruits Walking in newness of life 4. Pentecost Immersion (baptism) in the Holy Spirit and faith in God 5. Rosh HaShanah Hear the calling (shofar (trumet)) of (Feast of Trumpets) God for our lives 6. Day of Atonement Yielding ourselves to God so that we may live (face to face) in His Presence 7. Tabernacles A daily rest in the Messiah and having the rest of His Kingdom in our hearts SIGNIFICANCE IN BRIEF 1. Passover Reminds us that God is the forgiver of sin who grants us eternal life in His Kingdom through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Passover 2. Unleavened Bread Depicts putting sin out of our lives 3. First Fruits Christ, the firstfruits risen from the dead, afterward, those who are Christ's at His Coming 4. Pentecost Serves to remind us that our Creator still works miracles, empowering us to carry out His work in this world 5. Rosh HaShanah Looks forward to the return of Jesus Christ (Feast of Trumpets) (rapture of the Church), and to the resurrection of the "dead in Christ" -the hope of Christians 6. Day of Atonement Pictures the loving reconciliation we have with God, made possible through Christ's sacrifice It also shows the remarkable truth that Satan will eventually be removed so that humanity can at last attain reconciliation with God on a universal basis 7. Tabernacles Represents the Millenium, the reign of Christ on Earth for 1,000 years of true happiness and utopia
AND, the following is my original post from ten years ago...
Culture/Society Keywords: JEWISH FESTIVALS MESSIAH JESUS CHRIST
Author: Eddie Chumney
Posted on 10/08/2000 01:39:38 PDT by Star Traveler
The following is from a series of e-mails sent out about the "Seven Feasts of the Messiah" by Eddie Chumney. This posting here is in connection with a previous Free Republic posting regarding a Jerusalem Post opinion article.
The Free Republic posting of the above article is here --
And below are the series of the Seven Feasts of the Lord, which figures very closely into what is happening in the Middle East with the Arabs and the Jews, that is -- if you think that God has anything to do with the world situation and Israel.
What is shown here is how the seven Feasts of the Lord, are fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus Christ, throughout the course of the history of the world. The first four Feasts have been fulfilled, up through the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost. The next one to be fufilled is the Feast of Trumpets, related to the Rapture. And then in quick succession comes the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and the Feast of Tabernacles (the Millennial Reign of Christ).
1 Posted on 10/08/2000 01:39:38 PDT by Star Traveler (email@example.com)
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The Feasts of the Lord--Part I FEASTS OF THE LORD (most of the following study is taken from The Seven Feasts of the Messiah by Eddie Chumney) HEBREW NAME ENGLISH NAME TIME OF OBSERVANCE 1. Pesach Passover Nisan 14 2. Hag HaMatzah Feast of Nisan 15-21 Unleavened Bread 3. Bikkurim First Fruits (of The morrow after the the Barley Harvest) sabbath during Hag HaMatzah 4. Shavout Feast of Weeks/ Fifty days from the Pentecost Feast of First Fruits 5. Yom Teruah Feast of Trumpets Tishrei 1 (Rosh HaShanah) 6. Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Tishrei 10 7. Sukkot Feast of Tabernacles/ Tishrei 15-21 Booths THE APPOINTED FEASTS The Festivals of the Lord found in Leviticus, chapter 23, were given to us by God so His people could understand the coining of the Messiah and the role that the Messiah would play in redeeming and restoring both man and the earth back to God following the fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. The Festivals are divided into two major portions, depending upon whether they occur in the spring or the fall. The Spring Festivals teach about the First Coming of the Messiah, and the Fall Festivals teach about the Second Coming of the Messiah. During the course of the year, the rains come in Israel at two primary times - the spring and the fall. In Hosea 6:3 we read- "...His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth." The "latter and former rain" in this passage is commonly interpreted and understood to be the coming of the Holy Spirit. The "former and latter" rain also refers to the First and Second Coming of the Messiah. The Hebrew word for the former rain, found also in Joel 2:23, is 'moreh', which means "teacher". Jesus, the teacher, was sent by God to the earth to faithfully teach us righteousness, just as God faithfully sends us the rain. (Isaiah 55:10-11) The harvest (believers in Christ) is the product that the rain (Jesus) produces. The Apostle Paul, in Colossians 2:16-17 refers to the Feasts as a "shadow of things to come." The first four Feasts or Festivals, which are Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost, primarily teach about the significant events in the First Coming of the Messiah and why these events were an important part of God's redemption of man. The last three Feasts, which are the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) also known as Rosh HaShanah, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (Sukkot), give us a fascinating insight concerning important events that surrond the Second Coming of the Messiah. God gave the Festivals to teach about the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah, the empowering of the believers by the Holy Spirit, the resurrection of the dead, the coronation of the Messiah, the wedding of the Messiah (which we have already outlined in a previous study, but will include portions here as well), the Millennium, and much more. The Bible also provides some powerful reasons for studying and understanding the Seven Festivals of the Messiah: -The Feasts are in the Bible, and all the Bible is inspired by God. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) -The Feasts are a shadow of things to come that teach us about the Messiah. (Colossians 2:16-17, Hebrews 10:1) -God gave the Feasts so we could learn and understand God's plan of redemption for the world and our personal relationship to Him. (Romans 15:4) THE BIBLICAL CALENDAR AND THEIR MONTH OF THE YEAR MONTH OF MONTH OF NAMES OF MONTH OUR MONTH CIVIL YEAR SACRED YEAR Tishrei Sep 1st 7th Cheshvan Oct 2nd 8th Kislev Nov 3rd 9th Tevet Dec 4th 10th Shevat Jan 5th 11th Adar Feb 6th 12th Nisan (Aviv) Mar 7th 1st Iyar Apr 8th 2nd Sivan May 9th 3rd Tammuz June 10th 4th Av July 11th 5th Elul Aug 12th 6th To fully understand the Feasts being appointed times given by God, it is important to understand the Biblical Calendar that God gave to us. There are two primary calendars in the Bible. The first one is called the Civil Calendar and is used from Genesis 1:1 to Exodus 12. The first month in the Civil Calendar is Tishrei. Rosh HaShanah, or the Jewish New Year, the first day in the Civil Calendar, is the beginning of the New Year. The second calendar in the Bible is the Religious Calendar. The Religious Calendar is used from Exodus 12 to Revelation 22. God established the Religious Calendar in Exodus 12:2- "This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you." The month that God was referring to was the month which is called Nisan. Prior to God establishing the month of Nisan as the first month in the Religious Calendar, Nisan was the seventh month in the Civil Calendar. God gave the Religious Calendar so that we could understand that these Feasts, which He gave and which are His appointed times and foreshadow important events in redemption, would happen on the days He ordained on the Religious Calendar. These important days on the Religious Calendar are the same days that He gave as Festivals in Leviticus, chapter 23. HISTORICAL APPLICATION OF THE FEASTS FEAST HISTORICAL APSECT 1. Passover Israel's deliverance out of Egyptian bondage 2. Unleavened Bread The going out of Egypt 3. First Fruits Crossing the Red Sea 4. Pentecost Giving the Commandments at Mount Sinai 5. Rosh HaShanah Blowing the 'Shofar' (trumpet) (Feast of Trumpets) Jewish New Year 6. Day of Atonement Priest entered the Holy of Holies Cleansing of the people's sins 7. Tabernacles Entering the Promised Land/Great Rejoicing MESSIANIC APPLICATION OF THE FEASTS FEAST MESSIANIC FULFILLMENT 1. Passover Death of Christ on the Cross (tree) 2. Unleavened Bread The burial of Jesus 3. First Fruits The resurrection of Jesus 4. Pentecost Pouring out of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) 5. Rosh HaShanah The resurrection of the dead/ (Feast of Trumpets) Rapture of the believers 6. Day of Atonement The day of Christ's Second Coming 7. Tabernacles The Messianic Era/Millennium SPIRITUAL APPLICATION OF THE FEASTS FEAST SPIRITUAL APPLICATION 1. Passover Repent and trust by faith in the shed blood of Jesus 2. Unleavened Bread Sanctification and separation from evil represented by water immersion (baptism) 3. First Fruits Walking in newness of life 4. Pentecost Immersion (baptism) in the Holy Spirit and faith in God 5. Rosh HaShanah Hear the calling (shofar (trumet)) of (Feast of Trumpets) God for our lives 6. Day of Atonement Yielding ourselves to God so that we may live (face to face) in His Presence 7. Tabernacles A daily rest in the Messiah and having the rest of His Kingdom in our hearts SIGNIFICANCE IN BRIEF 1. Passover Reminds us that God is the forgiver of sin who grants us eternal life in His Kingdom through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Passover 2. Unleavened Bread Depicts putting sin out of our lives 3. First Fruits Christ, the firstfruits risen from the dead, afterward, those who are Christ's at His Coming 4. Pentecost Serves to remind us that our Creator still works miracles, empowering us to carry out His work in this world 5. Rosh HaShanah Looks forward to the return of Jesus Christ (Feast of Trumpets) (rapture of the Church), and to the resurrection of the "dead in Christ" -the hope of Christians 6. Day of Atonement Pictures the loving reconciliation we have with God, made possible through Christ's sacrifice It also shows the remarkable truth that Satan will eventually be removed so that humanity can at last attain reconciliation with God on a universal basis 7. Tabernacles Represents the Millenium, the reign of Christ on Earth for 1,000 years of true happiness and utopia OVERVIEW OF THE SPRING FESTIVALS The four Spring Festivals are Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. These four Spring Festivals are joined together as an interrelated unit. The Feast of Weeks is considered the conclusion to Passover. The season of Passover is not considered totally over until Pentecost is completed. Passover begins in Egypt (a type of the world), where the children of Israel had become slaves. In the days of Joseph, there was a famine in Israel and the children of Israel went down to Egypt and gave themselves to rulership under Pharoah. Because of this, Pharoah had legal ownership over the people. This ownership could be broken only by the death of Pharoah, thus freeing the children of Israel to go to the Promised Land. When Pharoah died, his rulership over the children of Israel was legally broken and the people were free to go to the Promised Land. Spiritually speaking, Pharoah is a type of Satan. Until you accept Jesus into your life, Satan has legal ownership over you. By the death of Jesus, the legal ownership that Satan has over our lives is broken and we are free to enter into the spiritual promised land of God and receive all the promises that He has promised to us. From the crossing of the Red Sea (Nisan 17) to the day Moses met God on Mount Sinai were 47 days. For 47 days the children of Israel traveled through the wilderness before they came to Mount Sinai on the third day of the third month. (Exodus 19:1) God instructed the people through Moses to sanctify themselves before He visited them three days later on Mount Sinai, which would be the sixth day of the third month. (Exodus 19:10-11) This day would be the fiftieth day following the crossing of the Red Sea. It came to be known as the revelation of God at Mount Sinai. This day, being the fiftieth day from the crossing of the Red Sea on Nisan 17 would be the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. From the Exodus story, we can see that the Lamb was slain on the fourteenth of Nisan, the day of Passover. On the fifteenth of Nisan, the day of Unleavened Bread, the people left Egypt. On the seventeenth of Nisan the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, and 50 days later on the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, God gave Moses the Commandments. In the studies of the Feasts that will follow, we will see how Jesus died on Passover (Nisan 14), was in the sepulcher on the day of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15), and was resurrected on the day of First Fruits (Nisan 17), and the Holy Spirit empowered the believers 50 days following Jesus resurrection on the day of Pentecost. We will also learn what these Feasts mean to the believer and how they relate to our personal relationship with God. OVERVIEW OF THE FALL FESTIVALS The Fall Festival season begins with a 40 day period called, in Hebrew, 'Teshuvah', which means "to repent or return". This 40 day period begins in the sixth month of the Religious Calendar, and concludes on the tenth day of the seventh month, which is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Each morning in the synagogue following the morning prayers, a trumpet (shofar) is blown (except on sabbaths and the day preceding Rosh HaShanah, the Feast of Trumpets). The Biblical name for Rosh HaShanah is Yom Terah, which means "the day of the awakening blast". We call it the Feast of Trumpets. God gave us this day to teach us about the resurrection of the dead, the coronation of the Messiah, the wedding of the Messiah, and more. This day is both the Jewish New Year and the beginning of a period of soul searching known as the High Holy Days, culminating on Yom Kippur. Therefore, the last 10 days of the 40 day period of Teshuvah or repentance, is also called the high Holy Days. The first and second days of the 10 High Holy Days (Tishrei 1-10) are collectively known as one day. (Nehemiah 8:1-2,13) The seven day period from Tishrei 3 through Tishrei 9 is called the Days of Awe or the Awesome Days. God gave these special days on His calendar to teach us about the future tribulation period on earth. These seven days will correspond to the seven years of the tribulation, known in Hebrew as the "birthpangs of the Messiah". Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement is observed on the tenth day of the seventh month. (Leviticus 23:26-32) Since Rosh HaShanah teaches us about the resurrection of the dead, the coronation of the Messiah and the wedding of the Messiah, and the Days of Awe teach us about the tribulation, Yom Kippur teaches us about the literal Second Coming of the Messiah when He will set His foot down of the Mount of Olives. (Zechariah 14:4) The Feast of Tabernacles is observed the fifteenth day of the seventh month of Tishrei to the twenty first day. This Festival teaches us the joy of the Messianic Kingdom or the Millennium. There are four important aspects to remember when dealing with each of the seven Great Festivals of the Lord: 1. All of the Festivals are, at the same time, both historical and prophetic. 2. All of the Festivals teach about the Messiah, or Jesus. 3. All of the Festivals are agricultural in context. 4. All of the Festivals teach about your personal relationship with God and how you are to walk with Him as you grow in the knowledge of Him, from being a baby believer to a mature believer. THE MEANING OF THE WORD "FEAST" IN THE BIBLE There are two important Hebrew words that appear in Leviticus, chapter 23, and each word is translated as 'feast' in English. In verse 2, the word for feast is the Hebrew word 'mo'ed'- "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, concerning the feasts (mo'ed) of the Lord..." The word 'mo'ed' means an appointment, a fixed time or season, a cycle or year, an assembly, an appointed time, a set time or exact time. By understanding the Hebrew meaning of the English word "feast", we can see that God is telling us that He is ordaining a "set time or exact time or an appointed time" when He has an appointment with humanity to fulfill certain events in the redemption. Jesus came to earth at the exact time ordained by God as Paul wrote in Galations 4:4, and God has an exact time or set appointment when, in the future, He will judge the world as written in Acts 17:31. In verse 6 is another Hebrew word translated as "feast"- "And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast (chag) of unleavened bread..." The Hebrew word 'chag', which means a "festival", is derived from the Hebrew root word 'chagag', which means to move in a circle, to march in a sacred procession, to celebrate, dance, to hold a solemn feast or holiday. God gave the Festivals as cycles to be observed yearly so that, by doing them, we can understand God's redemptive plan for the world, the role that the Messiah would play in that redemption, and our personal relationship to God concerning how we grow from a baby Bible believer to a mature Bible believer. THREE TIMES A YEAR THEY WERE TO ASSEMBLE There are a total of seven Feasts (the divine number for perfection or completeness in the Bible). God divided the seven Festivals into three major Festival seasons. The Feast of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits are in the Hebrew month of Nisan, which is the first month of God's Religious Calendar in the spring of the year. The Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, is observed in the third month which is the Hebrew month of Sivan. The Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles are observed in the seventh month of Tishrei, which is in the fall of the year. Three is the number of complete and perfect testimony and witness. (2 Corinthians 13:1, 1 John 5:8) So the Feasts are a witness to God's divine plan and the role of Messiah fulfilling that plan. UNDERSTANDING THE FEASTS In Leviticus 23:2 it is written, "...the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations..." The Hebrew term translated as convocation in Leviticus 23:2,4 is 'miqra', which means "a rehearsal". God gave the Festivals to be yearly "rehearsals" of the future events in the redemption. Because God gave the "rehearsals" to teach us about the major events in the redemption, if we want to understand those events, then we need to understand what God was teaching us by these rehearsals. We will do this in the study as we get into the Feasts themselves.
The Feasts of the Lord--Part II THE PASSOVER The Feast of Passover was given by God to be a rehearsal of the First Coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus' sacrifice is the pivotal event in God's plan to save humanity. Speaking of His certain death, Christ said that He, as the Son of Man, must be "lifted up" (crucified) even as "Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness," so that "whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." We see here that Jesus' sacrifice, the central message of the Passover, was a supreme act of love for humanity. This important event laid the foundation for the remaining annual Holy Days and Festivals. It is the most momentous step in God's plan. The Passover in the Old Testament foreshadowed Christ's crucifixion. God declared Passover to be a permanent celebration for all eternity. (Exodus 12:13-14) Historically, Passover celebrates God's deliverance of the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt, where they were slaves to the Egyptians (Exodus 6:5-8, 13:3,14). The spiritual application that God wants us to understand can be seen as this: Egypt is a type of the world and the world's system. Its ruler, Pharoah, was a type of satan. The bondage people are in when they live according to the ways of the world's system is sin (John 8:34). Historically, the children of Israel were delivered from the bondage in Egypt by putting the blood of a lamb upon the doorposts of their houses (Exodus 12:13). Spiritually, this is a picture of Jesus and how those who believe in Him are delivered from the bondages of sin and the rule of satan in their lives. Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:29). Jesus is also our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7). Those who follow Christ are the house of God (Hebrews 3:6). The doorposts are our hearts. It is only through trusting by faith in the shed blood of Christ, our Passover, that we are free from the bondage of sin (Galatians 5:1). This is because the blood of Christ redeems us from sin (Leviticus 17:11, Ehesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14, 1 Peter 1:18-19, 1 John 1:7, Revelation 1:5) During Passover, the head of each household was to take a lamb of the first year on the tenth day of the first month known as Nisan and set it aside until the fourteenth day (Exodus 12:3-6). In the evening of the fourteenth day, at exactly 3:00 p.m., the lamb was to be killed (Exodus 12:6) The blood of the lamb was to be sprinkled on the lintel and two side posts of the household door. The lamb was to be roasted with fire, with bitter herbs, and with unleavened bread, and the entire household was to feast upon the body of the lamb (Exodus 12:7-8). The people were instructed by God to eat the lamb with haste and to be dressed and ready to leave Egypt at the midnight hour. This would be the fifteenth day of Nisan (Exodus 12:10-11). At midnight on that fateful evening in Egypt, the death angel passed through the land. Every house tht did not have the token of the blood on the doorposts and lintel suffered the judgment of God (Exodus 12:12-15). The Hebrew word for Passover is 'Pesach', which means "to pass or hover over." This word speaks to us about two things. First, it shows the passing over in judgment from death and sin to life in Jesus. Second, it tells us about allowing, by faith, the blood of Jesus to hover over our lives and give us divine protection from the evil one. GOD'S COMMANDMENTS FOR PASSOVER Exodus 12: vs.2--This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you vs.3--Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house vs4.--And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb vs5.--Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats vs.6--And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening vs.7--And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it vs.8--And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it vs.9--Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof vs.10--And ye shall let nothing remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire vs.11--And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord's passover vs.12--For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. PASSOVER WAS THE BEGINNING OF MONTHS (vs.2) Nisan is the first month of the Religious Calendar. When we receive Jesus into our lives it is the beginning of a New Covenant relationship with God (Jeremiah 31:31-33, 2 Corinthians 5:17). Passover is the first of the Feasts. Likewise, repenting of our sins and believing in the shed blood of Jesus is the first step in our walk with God. THE LAMB WAS HIDDEN FOR FOUR DAYS (vs.3,6) God commanded Israel to take a lamb on the tenth day of Nisan and set it aside until the fourteenth day. These four days were fulfilled by Jesus during the Passover week. Remember, Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:29). He entered Jerusalem and went to the temple, which was the house of God, and went on public display there for four days from Nisan 10 to Nisan 14 (Matthew chapters 21-26). In eschatology, the study of last days, these four days that the lamb was hidden is prophetic of the people's expectations that the Messiah would come 4,000 years from the creation of Adam as part of the 7,000 year plan of God to redeem both man and the earth back to how things were in the Garden of Eden. These four days are prophetic of the Messiah being hid from the world and not coming to earth for four days or 4,000 years from the creation of Adam. A day is understood to be prophetic of a thousand years, based upon Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8. Linking Psalm 90:4 to each day in creation, God ordained each day in creation to be prophetic of a thousand years of time and the entire redemption to take 7,000 years to complete from the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:1,5,8,13,19,23,31, 2:1-3). THE LAMB WAS TO BE WITHOUT BLEMISH (vs.5) Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:29) without spot or blemish (1 Peter 1:18-20). THE LAMB WAS OF THE FIRST YEAR (vs.5) Jesus was the firstborn of Mary naturally (Matthew 1:21-25), and the firstborn of God spiritually (Colossians 1:15). IT IS A MALE (vs.5) It was through one man's sin that sin came into the world (Romans 5:12). Because Adam, the firt male, sinned, so a male, Jesus, must die to atone for tht sin (Romans 5:17-19) IT IS A LAMB FOR A HOUSE (vs.3-4) God's intention was that all (households) experience salvation. The lamb was a lamb for the house. By believing in the Lord Jesus, we become members of the household of faith (Ephesians 2:19). Salvation for a household is available to all who believe in the Messiah, the Lamb of God (Genesis 7:1, Joshua 24:15, John 4:46-53, Luke 19:5-10, Acts 16:31, 18:8). There is a progressive revelation of the Lamb in the Bible. First, there is a lamb for a house (Exodus 12:3-4) second, a lamb for a nation (John 11:49-52) and finally, a lamb for the world (John 1:29). A PASSOVER LAMB WAS TO BE KILLED IN THE EVENING (vs.6) ('evening' translated as twilight or between the evenings) The Biblical day goes from evening to evening, from sundown to sundown, which is roughly 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Genesis 1:5) The day (6:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.) is divided into two 12-hour periods. -The evening runs from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. -The morning runs from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. -Each 12-hour period is divided into two smaller portions. -From 6:00 a.m. to noon is the morning part of the day. -From noon to 6:00 p.m. is the evening part of the day. The phrase, "between the evening" (vs.6) refers to the period of the day that goes from noon to 6:00 p.m., which is exactly 3:00 p.m. This would be the ninth hour of the day, counting from 6:00 a.m. Jesus died at the ninth hour of the day (Matthew 27:45-50). This would be 3:00 p.m., the ninth hour, counting from 6:00 a.m. THE WHOLE ASSEMBLY SHALL KILL IT (vs.6) Every person who has ever lived on planet Earth and sinned is guilty of killing Jesus because He died for all sinners (Romans 3:10,23). A whole congregation of people was involved in the death of Jesus. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John show how the Sanhedrin, the priests, the Romans, and the people of Israel all clamored for the crucifixion of Jesus and for His blood to be shed (Acts 4:26-28). THE BLOOD MUST BE APPLIED TO THE DOOR (vs.7) Those who believe in the Lord Jesus are the house of God (Hebrews 3:6). The only way into the house of God is through the shed blood of Christ, who is the Door (John 10:7-9). THE BODY OF THE LAMB MUST BE EATEN (vs. 8-10) Both the body and blood of the lamb speak of the body and blood of Christ (Matthew 26:26-28). We spiritually eat of the body of the Lamb when we eat of His body (today represented by the bread). IT MUST BE EATEN THE SAME NIGHT (vs.8) Jesus was crucified, suffered, and died the same night. IT MUST BE EATEN WITH UNLEAVENED BREAD (vs. 8) Leaven speaks of sin (1 Corinthians 5:6-8). Unleavened bread is without sin. As believers, we are instructed to live holy (unleavened) lives before God (Leviticus 19:2, 1 Peter 1:15-16). IT MUST BE EATEN WITH BITTER HERBS (vs. 8) To those who have accepted Jesus into their lives, bitter herbs speak of the bondage and burdens we experience while living in this world ( a type of Egypt) before we accepted Jesus into our lives. This burden of sin is placed on us by satan when we yield to his lies and deception, and then sin because of our own evil desires. For Christ, dying on the cross was a bitter experience because He had to pay for man's sin with His sinless life. THE LAMB MUST BE ROASTED IN FIRE (vs.8) Fire speaks of judgment, refining, and purification. Our faith is judged and tested by fire so it can be refined and purified and come forth as pure gold (Zechariah 13:9, James 1:12, 1 Peter 1:7). IT MUST NOT BE SODDEN WITH WATER (vs.9) The Gospel of Jesus must not be watered down (Mark 7:9,13). THE HEAD, LEGS, AND OTHER PARTS OF THE LAMB MUST BE EATEN (vs.9) Those who believe in the Lord Jesus must feed on the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5, 1 Corinthians 2:16, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:21-23, Hebrews 8:10). The legs speak of our walk (Colossians 2:6). How are we, the believers in Christ to walk? See, Romans 6:4, 8:1,4, 2 Corinthians 5:7, Galations 5:16, Ephesians 5:2,8, Colossians 1:10, 4:5, 1 Thessalonians 4:1, 1 John 1:7, and 2 John vs.6. THE LAMB MUST BE EATEN IN HASTE (vs.11) Bible believers must be quick to leave Egypt (the influences of the world) and run toward the life that is in the Savior, Jesus Christ (Luke 19:5-6). IT MUST BE EATEN WITH OUR LOINS GIRDED (vs.11) Our loins being girded speaks about our hearts desire to eagerly serve and obey God. Our spiritual loins are the truth of the Word of God (Ephesians 6:14). There are other Scriptures that speak about our loins being girded. They are- 1 Kings 18:46, Luke 12:35 and 1 Peter 1:13. SHOES MUST BE ON OUR FEET (vs.11) Shoes on our feet speaks about our walk with God. Scriptures that speak about this are- Nahum 1:15, Romans 10:15 and Ephesians 6:15. A STAFF MUST BE IN OUR HAND (vs.11) A staff in our hand speaks about the believer's authority in the Kingdom of God by the name of Jesus The following Scriptures speak about a staff being in our hand- Genesis 38:17-18, Psalm 23:4 and Mark 6:7-8. IT IS THE LORD'S PASSOVER (vs.11) If we follow Christ with all of our hearts, we will pass from death to life, and from judgment to divine protection (John 5:24, 1 John 3:14, 2 Corinthians 5:17). IT IS A MEMORIAL (vs.14) Passover is a memorial or a remembrance (Luke 22:13-15,19). There are two elements of remembrance: -God remembers us (Genesis 8:1, 9:5-16, Exodus 2:24-25, 6:2,5 Leviticus 26:38-45, Numbers 10:9, Psalm 105:7-8, 42-43, 112:6). In fact, God has a book of remembrance (Malachi 3:16-18). -We must remember God (Exodus 13:3, Deuteronomy 7:17-19, 8:18, 16:3, Numbers 15:37-41). IT IS TO BE OBSERVED AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN (Deuteronomy 16:2,6). This was fulfilled by the Lord at His crucifixion (Matthew 27:45-46). IT IS THE PLACE WHERE GOD WOULD PUT HIS NAME (Deuteronomy 16:2,6) The place where God has put His name is Jerusalem (2 Kings 21:4). Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem. NOT A BONE OF THE LAMB WAS TO BE BROKEN (Exodus 12:43-46) Not a bone of our Lord was broken while He hung on the cross (John 19:33). THERE WAS TO BE AN EXPLANATION OF THE SERVICE (Exodus 12:25-28) Jesus explained each part of the Passover as He did the service (Luke 22:14-20, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26) THE EGYPTIANS WERE SPOILED AT THE EXODUS (Exodus 12:31-36) Satan was spoiled when Jesus entered hell and rose again (Colossians 2:15) YOU MUST BE CIRCUMCISED TO EAT THE PASSOVER (Exodus 12:48, Joshua 5:2-10) The physical act of circumcision was only a picture of the inward or spiritual circumcision that God wanted us to have (Romans 2:28-29). God has always desired for His people to be circumcised in the heart (Deuteronomy 10:12-16, 1 Corinthians 7:18-19, Galatians 6:12-15). THE PASSOVER FEAST WAS TO BE A HOLY CONVOCATION, AND NO WORK WAS TO BE DONE (Exodus 12:16) A believer finds true rest in ceasing from his own works and resting in the finished work of Christ, God's Passover Lamb (Genesis 2:1-2, Matthew 11:28-30, Hebrews 4:1-10). THE PASSOVER MUST BE KILLED OUTSIDE THE GATES OF THE CITY (Deuteronomy 16:5) Our Lord was crucified outside of the city walls of Jerusalem at a place called Golgotha (John 19:16-19, Hebrews 13:10-13). THERE IS HEALING POWER IN THE LAMB (Exodus 15:26) Christ, is the Healer sent from God (Isaiah 53:1-5, 1 Peter 2:24, 1 Corinthians 11:26-30). THE EXODUS WAS ON EAGLE'S WINGS (Exodus 19:4) Scriptures associated with this are Deuteronomy 32:9-13, Isaiah 40:31, Luke 17:33-37 and Revelation 12:6,14. THEY SANG A SONG OF REJOICING TO THE LORD (Exodus 15:1, 19-21) Whenever a believer experiences and understands the meaning of Passover, there is a spirit of rejoicing to the Lord for his or her deliverance from sin, and for experiencing the newness of life in the Savior. NOTE: The Passover Seder, which is the service and meal that celebrates the Passover, always ends with songs of rejoicing. This can be seen in Mark 14:26. ISRAEL IS THE FIRSTBORN OF GOD (Exodus 4:22-23) All those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior are called the firstborn of God even as Jesus is called the firstborn of God (Romans 8:29, Colossians 1:15,18, Hebrews 12:22-23). On the fourteenth of Nisan, at the third hour of the day (9 a.m.), the high priest took the lamb and ascended the altar so he could tie the lamb in place on the alter. At the same time on that day, Jesus was nailed to the cross on Mount Moriah (Mark 15:25). At the time of the evening sacrifice (3 p.m.) for Passover (Exodus 12:6), the high priest ascended the altar, cut the throat of the lamb with a knife, and said the words, "It is finished." These are the exact words said after giving a peace offering to God. At this same time, Jesus died (the ninth hour, 3:00 p.m., Matthew 27:46), saying these exact words in John 19:30- "IT IS FINISHED."
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