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I am a Freelance writer, poet, editor, artist & catoonist. My work is used by several OnLine companies to attract readers. Some of my writings have been translated into Chinese on the internet. I am posted on FaithWriters & Ezine and I edit the Harford County Christian Jail Ministry, (HCCJM) Newsletter, in Harford Co. Maryland. A follower of Christ, I work for the humane treatment of prisoners, the homeless and the disenfranchised

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Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Passover Lamb

The olive grove in the
Garden Of Gethsemane
as it appe
ars today.

Photo of Gethsemane courtesy of http://www.holylandphotos.org
* indicates footnotes
The story of the week long celebration that most contemporary Christians refer to as Easter or Holy Week,* begins with mankind's fall from God's grace in Eden.* It is because of our disobedience to God and the death that accompanies sin, that our salvation through the Christ becomes necessary. If we had never sinned then the price for our sin, the blood of the lamb without blemish,* would never have had to have been paid by the sacrifice of the sinless Jesus of Nazareth.
The ten plagues were the price that ancient Egypt had to pay for Pharaoh’s disobedience to God’s commands sent through His messenger Moses.* The Passover was the means that God offered to the faithful of Israel to escape the tenth plague.* The tenth plague occurred when God allowed the destroyer* to come in and “… at midnight, … struck down all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn son of the prisoner in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed.” *
For the ancient Jews the Passover Lamb was the lamb carefully selected for each household of the descendants of Jacob who were enslaved in Egypt. The lamb was slaughtered and its blood collected in a basin, a cluster of hyssop was dipped into the blood and the lintels and doorposts of every Hebrew house were struck* with the blood in the basin and no one in the household was to venture outside that night. The Lord promised that He would pass over the homes marked with the sacrificial lamb’s blood. However, for Christians and Messianic Jews the Passover Lamb is Jesus Himself, and the epoch of the Exodus from Egypt is God’s historic prelude to the sacrifice of the true Passover Lamb for all of humanity.
In Revelation 13:8, the Apostle John tells us of “the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” There is an unbroken chain of cause and effect, events and prophesy, documented in Scripture, which connects the covenants God established with the Patriarchs to the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. Moses begins the whole of Scripture with “In the Beginning God.” Conversely in Revelation 22:13, just seven from the last verse of the whole of Scripture, Jesus proclaims “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
Several prominent figures have their significant counterpart in each Covenant. John the Baptist of the New Testament is compared to Elijah of the Old. Jesus even calls him Elijah* and the Baptist himself claims to be the herald of the Messiah prophesied in Isaiah.* Moses and Elijah appear with Christ at the Transfiguration and Jesus refers to Himself several times as the Son of Man a mysterious term used over one-hundred-seven times in the Old Testament.* In 1st Corinthians15:22, God has Paul teach us that “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” And significantly, in Hebrews 5 the Father tells Christ "You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek,”*
Melchizedek, is a another mysterious figure of some importance, who is also mentioned in the Old and the New Covenants. Connections and symbols are set throughout both Testaments. Like azimuths to steer by, they lead us inevitably too the shed blood of Christ, the ultimate sacrifice.
It is interesting to note that the only sacrament that Jesus tells us to observe in regards to Him is the eating of His body, broken for us and drinking of His blood which was shed for us.*
Scripture tells us that Jesus celebrated the Passover and we may assume that He probably observed other formal Hebrew holy days and customs because, at times, he instructed others to do so.* Also, we know He was baptized and we know He attended a wedding and we know He gathered with the assembly in the synagogue. However, according to Canon, Jesus never told us to celebrate either Christmas, His birth or Easter, His resurrection. Jesus tells us simply to obey the Great Commandment and the Golden Rule, to go forth and teach all nations and to take up our Cross and to follow Him. Otherwise, just as the ancient Hebrews were spared physical death by the blood of the lamb struck on their door, just so, today’s faithful are spared Spiritual death by the blood of the Lamb struck on the Cross.
Jesus is the Lamb because His life was the single life that was experienced by God Himself through His Only Begotten Son, the Christ. He became man so that His act of love and sacrifice could redeem the sinful soul of man and He could show us the Way to eternal life. It was God Himself, Who paid the very price that He asked of mankind: a life for a life.

“This is My body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of Me.”
Luke 22:19

*Footnotes & Credits:
1)'Holy Week': from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, this week usually coincides closely with the Jewish Passover. Western & Eastern Churches celebrate Holy Week usually during different weeks.
2) 'Eden': Romans 5:12-20,See also: WebBible Encyclopedia article “Fall of Man” by Matthew G. Easton,
3) 'lamb without blemish': Exodus 12:5 (NKJV), Hebrews 9:2 (NKJV)
4) 'His messenger Moses': Exodus 7:14-12:30
5) 'tenth plague': The New World Dictionary-Concordance to the NAB pg.511 “Passover”
6) 'the destroyer': Exodus 12:23 (NKJV), some versions of the Bible exclude this term, others translate it differently i.e.: destroying angel, destroying spirit or the angel of death. According to Strong’s the Hebrew word used here is also used for: Corruptor, spoiler, batterer & waster.
7) 'first born taken': Exodus 12:29 (NLT 2nd ed.)
8) 'struck': Exodus 12:21&22
9) 'Elijah': Matthew 11:14 & Mark 9:13
10) 'Isaiah': Compare Isaiah 40:3 to Matthew 3:3 & Luke 3:4
11) 'Son of Man': is used 93 times in Ezekiel alone. (ESV)
12) 'Melchizedek': The High Priest of Salem, to whom Abram (aka Abraham) gave a tithe offering, see Genesis 14
13) 'body & blood': referred to as Communion, the Eucharistic Service or the Lord's Supper in modern churches
14) 'customs': see Matthew 8:4, Mark 1:44 & Luke 5:14

first published in the HCCJM Easter Flier - 2006
researched and written by the editor, Jim Stratemeyer
Copyright © 2006 by James A. Stratemeyer
The HCCJM: The Harford County Christian Jail Ministry
a non-denominational, Bible based, all volunteer, prison outreach
Ministry Website: http://www.hccjm.com/