I was wondering what to put on the site for Easter this year. God prompted me to open up my Bible and He would show me. He said turn to Exodus 12. My eye was drawn to verse 26.
And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed and worshiped.
Moving my eye back up the page, I saw this:
And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
The passover - what a great Easter message. Did I just hear you say "He's kidding, right?" Why would God want His people to remember that as an ordinance for ever and ever? So He saved the Jewish people a long, long time ago. What does that have to do with me today?
The Next Passover
Well, let me tell you! There's another passover coming!
1 Thess. 4:16-17
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
God is planning to pass over, once again. Let's compare the two:
- The time of the first passover was of God's choosing. In the first case, Moses warned the Israelis of when the upcoming passover would occur. The Bible, evangelists, apostles, preachers, teachers, and individual Christians warn the world of the next passover. We have no specific date when the next passover will occur. But, we feel the time is very near.
- A sacrifice is required for safety. For the first passover, it was a lamb. Each person didn't have to provide their own sacrifice. The sacrifice could be shared among neighbors. The sacrifice had to be perfect - a firstborn lamb without blemish. For the next passover, it was Christ. He was born of the virgin Mary to start perfect without the sin passed down from the father, and led a life without sin to remain a perfect sacrifice. His sacrifice covers all humanity. We only have to accept it.
- The sacrifice involved the shedding of blood; Christ's blood instead of the lamb's blood.
- The blood was put on wood; the cross instead of the side posts and lintel of the door.
- The blood on the wood was the only protection. If the Jewish people ventured outside the protection of their blood stained door or failed to follow Moses' instructions, they were subject to the same curse as the Egyptians. Similarly, if we don't accept the blood of Christ for our salvation from our sins, we will not have a part in the next passover.
- There is no indication that God would only have protected Israelis with blood on the lintels and side posts. Anyone in Egypt who had done that would have been spared whether Egyptian, captive, Pharaoh, or servant. Likewise any of these people who were in the homes of the Israelis who had followed God's command would have been spared. However, I suspect that the Jewish people of their day were just like the Christians of our day. We protect our own families and try to save them, but we don't spread the Word of salvation anywhere else. Hey, they can see what we are doing every Sunday morning. If they wanted to be saved they could follow us to our church and get right with God. Why should I do anything? They could ask if they were interested. Right?
- The passover established the first month in the Jewish calendar. Likewise, accepting Christ's sacrifice turns over a new page in the calendar of our own lives.
- Before the Passover, the Israelis were slaves to the Egyptians. After the Passover meal, they were freed to worship God, and took with them the spoils of the Egyptians. Before we accept Christ's sacrifice, we are slaves to sin. After we accept Christ as our Savior, we are free of the bondage of sin and in line for the glorious blessings of being a child of the King.
- Only a select group of people - the firstborn of the Egyptians - were directly killed at the last passover since the Israelis listened to Moses. Those who haven't accepted Christ as their Savior will be the ones in trouble after the rapture. Only a select group - those behind the blood stained doors - were saved at the last passover. Only a select group will be saved at the rapture - those who are ready and have chosen Christ as their Savior - those who are covered in the blood of the Lamb. Those left behind still have a chance to be saved, but it will be much harder.
- The passover lamb was to be roasted whole. Nothing was to be left over from the passover meal. Anything left over was to be burned up as a sacrifice the next morning. Likewise, God wants everyone to accept the sacrifice Christ made on the cross for the salvation of their sins. He doesn't want anyone to be left out or any part of the sacrifice wasted.
- The passover meal was to be eaten quickly...
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.
We are likewise to be always ready to go and meet Christ in the air. When Christ went back to heaven to sit on the right hand of God after the resurrection, he left this word:
Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Sounds like He didn't expect us to be sitting around in pews either.
- There was no warning or second chances given to the Egyptians for the first passover. There won't be any warning or second chances given to Christian or non-Christian in the second passover. The Holy Spirit will continue to work in the world after the rapture, and many will be saved after that passover happens, but they will have to suffer with the rest of the world.
- Those who are left behind will feel a tremendous immediate loss. For the Egyptians, it was for every firstborn - from the ruler to the captive to the cattle. In the next passover, there will indeed be a great cry in the world for there will be many houses and families where one or more are missing, and some, who thought they were ready, are left behind, to say nothing of the ensuing destruction and havoc.
And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
- There will be a hardening of the hearts of many after the event just as there was in Egypt. Christ's church will be gone. Sadly, a shell of the organized churches around the world will undoubtedly remain. The rapture may prompt those who were playing around with Christianity to unexpected activity, but it will be harder to reach those who weren't ready in the first place.
- Life was much harder for the Egyptians after that Passover. Not only did they lose all their firstborn, but many soldiers and government leaders also died in the pursuit of the Israelis. Likewise, life will be much harder for anyone left after the rapture of the church. God has prophesied that He will pour out His wrath upon the Earth. There will be 3 1/2 years of lesser tribulation and 3 1/2 years of great tribulation while this occurs.
- Like Pharaoh crossing the Red Sea, a great many who are left behind will be destroyed. Many new converts will be martyred.
There are so many similarities... No wonder God told the Jewish people to not let the first Passover be forgotten!
Be ready for the next Passover. If you're not, get ready.
Be sure your families are as ready as they can be. Be ready to lead your children to Christ at an early age. Teach your children about the reasons why you do the Christian things you do. Explain the ordinances of the church. Be clear on God's expectations for living a Christian life. If your walk doesn't match up with your talk, correct your walk.
Go with them to church each Sunday and not just on Easter and Christmas. Don't use the Church as a babysitter. Take them to Sunday School, and try to find time to help them learn outside of the Church setting. Don't make them rely only on the Church for instruction.
Don't try to reach the world for Jesus today. This Easter, reach your next door neighbors. Whether that is in the apartment or dorm room down the hall, next door, or a few miles away in the countryside. Pick one neighbor and invite them to church this Easter (or better yet, this very next Sunday). There may be few Easters left when you'll have that opportunity.
As the pastor's wife said - you don't want to be passed over in the next passover.