Sermon: Passover (Part Six)
Passover and the Tabernacle
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 25-Apr-92; 57 minutes
I Corinthians 1:26-29 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, [and the reason?] that no flesh should glory in His presence.
I think that this is a wonderfully intriguing scripture. It is full of meaning for those who are a part of the church of God. And to those of you who are meeting in congregations, especially, I want to ask you to think about this for a moment. Reflect on this question: How many scholars has God called among us? How many are in our midst? How many people that are around you, that you know are a part of the church of God, can you actually say is "a scholar"?
Scholars are important to the world, because people are going to them for answers to life's perplexities. They look to them for authority, to back up their arguments. They say, when they are talking, "Well, so-and-so said this. And that so-and-so is an expert. They are a scholar in that particular field." The implication is—"If so-and-so said this, I am, therefore, correct in what I am saying." We all do it. I do it. It is part of our way of life, our way of thinking, our way of expressing. We want to have authority for the things that we say.
But I think it is so intriguing that God is forming a Family, but it is a Family without very many scholars. To me, there is at least one obvious reason. It is not that God has not called them, but they have, by and large, rejected His calling—because they belong to that group of "the great of this world" who will not become converted. They feel that they have too much to lose! The sacrifice required for conversion is, for them, too great.
A number of years ago, a visiting minister came out to one of the congregations that I was pastoring to give a sermon. This man held (and he still holds) a fairly responsible position in the administration of Ambassador College. He was (and also is) on the faculty as well. He said, "Jesus Christ does not want a blue-collar church."
I said to myself, "Now, wait a minute! My Savior was a blue-collar worker. He was a carpenter. Peter, James, and John—and possibly also Andrew—were fishermen. That is blue-collar work."
Maybe the minister did not intend it that way, but there was (to me) a great deal of elitismimplied in his statement. That is, that blue-collar people cannot think! "You leave that to us. We'll do the thinking. You just follow." (I think I was offended by what he said.)
Some scholars do come into the church. By this I mean people who are more gifted intellectually. And that is fine. But these people have a weakness that they need to recognize—they seem to be drawn toward what I call "esoteric twigs" that do not amount to a hill of beans as far as the Kingdom of God is concerned. Esoteric means mysterious, or some knowledge that is understood only by a few. You might be able to pick out your own areas that you have noticed within the church, where these people seem to rise. They have the idea that they kind of have something others do not have.
There is an interesting statement in I Corinthians 8, as we continue this. Once a scholar gets hold of some of this knowledge that captivates him, it tends to impact on him in three ways. (Sometimes one, sometimes two, sometimes all three.) What happens is that a form of elitism begins to develop, which tells the scholar that he is better than others are because look at what he possesses! It is called the pride of life, in I John 2:16.
The second is that this person becomes an evangelist, and he tries to convince others of the importance of his knowledge. In a church, even if that knowledge is true, it tends to be destructive because it produces confusion and disunity IF the knowledge is handled wrongly. There is a right, ethical way that 'insight into something' should be handled. And if it is not handled correctly, you can be sure it is going to produce disunity within a congregation. That is bad, even though the thing is true.
The third is perhaps the most dangerous of all to the scholar, in that it begins to shift the scholar's dependence entirely towards his knowledge. I do not know whether you realize this, but this was a major factor in destroying Israel and Judah's relationship with God. You will find the prophets of God, the teachers of God, and Jesus Christ Himself saying things like: "Think not that you have Abraham as your father."
Does esoteric information, or knowledge, make us better than others? It makes us more responsible than others. They thought that they had salvation merely because they possessed this knowledge that others did not have. And so their attitude towards the Gentiles was that they were "dogs." They were "beneath them." No, it produces responsibility in God's eyes—not elitism.
But you see what happened with Israel and Judah. They put their faith (their dependence) on whom they were related to—almost as if salvation was something that came through the bloodlines, merely because Abraham was God's friend and they were descended from Abraham. But Jesus had to straighten them out, by saying, "Your father is Satan, the devil." That is quite a different perspective!
Israel did the same thing, as recorded in the book of Amos. God said the punishment was coming upon Israel and Judah because ofwho they were. He said, "You only have I made this covenant with; therefore, you shall be punished." They were relying upon the association with God through the covenant as the means of their salvation—esoteric knowledge (destructive to them in their relationship to God, because esoteric knowledge cannot stand by itself). That is what I Corinthians 8:1-3 is reminding us.
I Corinthians 8:1-3 Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies [builds up]. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.
That is far more important! So what is God saying here? God says that knowledge by itself will not cut it. Knowledge must be joined with love! Love is an action. It is outgoing concern—toward God, and also toward our fellow man.
Now, there is a place in the church of God for a true scholar. Would you agree with me that Jesus, a blue-collar worker, was the epitome of what a scholar ought to be in the eyes of God? Yet I do not know that He knew a thing about cracking the atom, or telephones, or television, or VCRs, or automobiles. He did not know a thing, maybe, about internal combustion engines, and never changed a tire in His life. Who was the greatest Person who ever lived? You see—His knowledge was the knowledge of God's way, and nobody ever exceeded Him in love! Is He a scholar? Boy, was He a scholar!
There is a lot of them—not just Jesus. What about the apostle John? Fisherman, blue-collar worker—who wrote probably the deepest (or the next to deepest) book in the entire New Testament—the gospel of John. He was a scholar? He was a fisherman. He was a true scholar! There is no doubt about it.
God loves scholarship! He does not want us to hold back from those things at all. But there is a difference between the kind of scholarship that we see in the world, and the kind of scholarship that God would employ.
The apostle Paul: Aha, now we have finally hit a white-collar worker, who is also a scholar—and probably the greatest one of the New Testament era, other than Jesus Christ. A scholar he was. There is no doubt about it.
All three of these men have something in common, and that is, even though they were great in intelligence, they also devoted themselves. They sacrificed their lives to God and to man. A big difference—between them and the scholars of this world.
I do not think that "the world" ever thought very much of these men. Paul writes, in Hebrews, that the world was not worthy of these people—who were wandering about in rags and living in caves, destitute, maybe in terms of the appearance of the quality of life. And yet these people are great in the eyes of God—as is the apostle Paul and as is John. There is no doubt about it.
The problem in this lies right in this area: These apostles, like John and Paul—regardless of their background, or whether they were blue-collar or white-collar—the purpose of their lives was to impress God, and to impress on men what God is like—both with their lives, and also with their scholarship. But carnal scholarship tries to impress the wrong people. It tries to impress the world.
Matthew 18:1-4 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
We have a big key here. This is what impresses God—being like a little child. The child is being held up here, by Christ, as being the ideal. But "the ideal" of what? Innocence? I do not think so. Purity? I do not think so. Faith? No, I do not think so. I am not saying that a child cannot be innocent, and pure, and also express kinds of faith. I do not think that fits, though, into this context. Since the word "humble" appears there, I think it is unconcern for status.
I want you to think about this in relation to the world's conduct toward children. (I think that it illustrates the value that we place on children.) Children, whether you realize it or not, hold onto one of the lowest rungs in society's status. People are murdering unborn children by the millions, every year through abortion. A woman's choice, in the United States of America, has become of greater value than the very life of an unborn child. That is how littlewe think of children. That is how small the value of a child is.
People will snuff out the life of what they call "an unviable piece, or mass, of tissue." You listen to the "pro-choice" [people]. This little life—with the potential to be God—is held in such low esteem that they snuff out its life, just like that. It is a form of infanticide. We, here in the United States, have between one and a half million to two million abortions a year. But that is piddling compared to Russia, where sometimes the figure goes up as high as 10 million in a year's time.
And how many children are murdered every year in China now, where they have set a limit on the family of one child? They seem to prefer male children, and little girls are going to be murdered off one after another.
I am giving you all these things to help you to understand the way the world looks at a child, to help you to understand here what Jesus Christ is getting at. The greatest in the kingdom of heaven is the person who makes himself like a little child. That is, somebody of no worth in society.
Even if the child is allowed to be born here in the United States, we have created a society and economic system that is such that a child is born into a family; and then, Mom and Dad go out to work. Thus, the child gets "farmed out" to the day care center, or a baby-sitter. And that child's emotional and psychological development is left in the hands of someone who, basically, does not really give a hoot.
Is a child worth anything? The scholars of this world—the powers and the leaders—have produced this kind of thing. That is, this kind of attitude that is here. A child holds one of the lowest rungs in society's level of what is important and what is of value.
Think of that, again, in relation to this: "Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." This is the attitude that produces true scholarship—when the person is not seeking status, when he is not seeking to be known as 'a wise man' or 'an intellectual.' Instead, he is looking for ways to please his God and to serve his fellowman. One does not have to have letters after one's name to be considered wise and a real scholar in the eyes of God—because this person has his mind on what is really important.
The Bible is not a complicated book. When Passover occurred is not complicated to figure out. Anybody with a normal education—if they are humble, if they are submitted to the Word of God—is going to have to come up to the truth that Passover occurred at the beginning of the fourteenth.
Paul said, "There is a simplicity in Christ." Do you know who has made this subject so complicated? It is the scholars, who are seeking after esoteric information that they might be able to play the game of one-upmanship. "Look how smart I am. Look what a leader I am."
This has been going on all the way since Adam and Eve, because this is the kind of approach that Satan used against Adam and Eve. He cast doubt on the simplicity of God's Word. "Oh, has God said...?" There it began—the lawyer using the "reasonable doubt" approach. And they bought it!
Passover occurred at the beginning of the fourteenth. The entire fourteenth day is devoted to the preparations for "coming out." And those preparations included the slaying of the lamb, the cleaning of the lamb, the roasting of the lamb. They had to stay—right on through the Death Angel—in their houses. Then burn the remains, and still stay there until morning. Then they used the daylight portion of the fourteenth day to gather along "the parade route," which they were going to follow to get out—through Rameses and out of Egypt.
It was a busy day! The entire day was spent working! That is why Passover is NOT a holy day. (But it is a festival.) God demands that we work on that day, in preparing for the feast that is going to come. And then comes the memorial of coming out of sin beginning at ba erev—at sunset—of the fourteenth, and going on then into the fifteenth.
Brethren, it says in Psalm 119:172 that ALL of God's commandments are righteousness. Understanding is the result of doing the commands of God. When we stop "doing," we begin to lose the understanding. It is not something that will happen quickly. It will not happen overnight, or in the blink of the eye. But, in the biblical milieu there, "You use it, or you lose it."
It is essential that from this first Passover arises the pattern for all Passovers to follow (until it was changed in symbols by our Lord and Savior). But everybody within the sound of my voice knows that, somewhere along the line, it got changed. Now, did God institute the change? Or did man institute the change, and God watched what was going on and recorded that it had occurred? Is it possible that, if that is what occurred, God somehow caused it to be recorded in His Book that it got changed?
I have read enough quotes from enough books (some of which I may get to by the end of this sermon), and I am going to show you that the people out in the world recognize that the Passover got changed. It is not hidden from them that the Passover as it is now being kept by the Jews is not the same as the Passover in Exodus 12, 13, and 14. (We will include Unleavened Bread in this too.) They see it.
Who changed it? Did God change it? How did it get changed? The proponents of a fifteenth Passover will go so far as to say that the original Passover was the only domestic Passover ever celebrated by Israel and that, every time after that, the lamb was sacrificed at the tabernacle (or the temple). And its blood, instead of being sprinkled on the doorposts, was instead sprinkled on the base of the brazen altar. Is that true?
Again, from Kuhn and Grabbe, page 12:
Later Passovers were kept somewhat differently from the one in Egypt. The blood of the lambs had to be sprinkled on the altar.
They offer as "proof" a couple of scriptures that I want you to turn to. We are not going to expound them. But I want it to get into our minds, at this point, and then, eventually, we are going to get back to them again.
If you look at verse 15, there is the mention of the slaughter of Passover lambs. And in the same book, in chapter 35, we are a little bit later in the history of Judah. We have now come to the time of Josiah, in the context; and it says:
II Chronicles 35:10-11 So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their places, and the Levites in their divisions, according to the king's command. And they slaughtered the Passover offerings; and the priests sprinkled the blood with their hands, while the Levites skinned the animals.
It is an interesting thing to think about, as we begin an explanation here. When, pray tell, did this take place? When did Hezekiah live? When did Josiah live (in relation to the original Passover)? If the original Passover took place, let us say, around 1400 BC—Hezekiah lived sometime just before 600 BC Josiah lived right in that period of 600 BC Both of them were strong kings, good kings. They did what was right in the eyes of God. You will find that recorded about both of them.
But the authors, Kuhn and Grabbe, make it look as though this event—which took place almost 800 years after the original Passover—happened immediately after the original one. They just forget to write a few things, like I just explained to you. Are these suppositions from Kuhn and Grabbe true? If so, where do we find a clear command by God that He Himself changed from the domestically killed [lambs] to the temple killed [lambs], and outlawed Passover observance at home? Did He give the instructions to the priests anywhere in His Book? You would think that, if anybody got any instructions, it ought to have been the priests. (I mean, in regard to this subject about Passover.)
Let us go all the way back to the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We will just pick up a little understanding regarding the priestly responsibilities. Before the time that Israel became a nation, the patriarch of the family (Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob) acted on behalf of the rest of the family, and they performed the priestly duties. They were the ones who sacrificed the animals for the family. They acted, then, as a priest.
But as Israel grew to nationhood, God brought them out of Egypt and made the old covenant with them. When they failed to live up to the agreement, He then instituted the sacrificial system with the Aaronic priesthood, and the tabernacle at which they were required to make the offerings.
We are going to look at this, because the initial commands for the sacrifices were given at the same time as the instructions for the building of the tabernacle. And we do not even have to leave the book of Exodus. That is how close it was chronologically from the time of the Exodus until these things were instituted. It was only a little over a year in time that we are talking about!
Let us go back to the book of Exodus. God gives the pattern of the tabernacle and the furniture that is within it. Also, how the tabernacle is to be built, what its dimensions are to be, what its construction is to be like, all of the cloth materials that are going to be used within it, the tables, the silver, the gold—all of that. That instruction actually begins in Exodus 25. But we are going to pick it up in chapter 29.
Here comes the basic instruction regarding the sacrificing of animals. In this case, it is the sin offering. In verse 18—the burnt offering, in verse 24—the wave offering, and in verse 28—the heave offering.
Exodus 29:38-39 "Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs of the first year, day by day continually. One lamb shall you offer in the morning [boqer], and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight [ben ha arbayim].”
This is the morning and evening sacrifice. When is the morning sacrifice supposed to be offered? At boqer! And when is the evening sacrifice to be offered? At ben ha arbayim! When did the Jews make the morning offering? And when did the Jew make the evening offering? They could not even follow the instructions there. At least with the morning offering they came close. It was at least 'morning.' But they made the evening offering somewhere around 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon. That is hardly ben ha arbayim, as we saw it defined by the Bible.
Exodus 29:40 With the one lamb shall be one-tenth of an ephah of flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of pressed oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering.
So there we have the meal offering and the drink offering.
Exodus 30:7-8 Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense every morning; when he tends the lamps, he shall burn incense on it. And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight (ben ha arbayim), he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.
Here we have the incense offerings that are made in the morning and evening—at the time of the morning and the evening sacrifice. Do you see what God is doing? In type, what is He talking about? What is the spiritual component that we have here? Do not these offerings represent something given to God? Like prayer. Like study. One in the morning and one in the evening. Is not God covering both parts of the day? You begin your day by approaching Godin prayer, and you end your day by approaching God in prayer. So the whole day is covered. Morning and night, you give a sacrifice of prayer to Him.
Do you go to bed at 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon? No. You go to bed when it is dark—after ben ha arbayim. (They are so far off that it is pitiful.) Do you see what I mean when I say that WHEN you begin to disobey, THEN you lose sight of the teaching, the meaning, the understanding, the discernment that comes with obedience to God's command? That is what happens.
God gave detailed instructions regarding every aspect of the designing, building, and setting up of the tabernacle—and in dedicating Aaron and his sons for the priesthood. (Those come between Exodus chapters 25-31, and other details are given in Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, which we will not go into at this point.)
I am going through this now because I want to impress on us the chronology of events here. In Exodus 40, my Bible has the heading for this chapter: “The Tabernacle Erected and Arranged.”
Exodus 40:2 "On the first day of the first month [Abib 1] you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.
When is Passover in relation to this date? It is on the fourteenth day of the first month! We are thirteen days away from the very next Passover after the original. Keep that in mind. We are that close to the original. By the time we get to the fourteenth, it will be one full year. So, everything was to be set up and ready to function for Aaron and his sons—and consecrated by the first day of the first month of the second year of the Exodus.
Verses 1-16 take care of all this. Just very briefly: Verse 2, set up the tabernacle; verse 3, put in it the ark of the testimony; verse 4, the table and the things that are to be set in order on it, and the lampstand and the lighting of it. In verse 5, you set up the altar of gold for the incense; verse 6, the altar of burnt offering; verse seven, the laver; verse 8, set up the court. In verse 9, you take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it. In verse 10, anoint the altar; verse 11, anoint the laver and its base, and sanctify it.
Exodus 40:12-14 "Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the tabernacle of meeting and wash them with water. You shall put the holy garments on Aaron, and anoint him and consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest. And you shall bring his sons. . .
Not the Levites—these are the sons of Aaron. They are Levites; but, at this time, we are not dealing with any Levites except the sons of Aaron—who were the priests.
Exodus 40:15-16 You shall anoint them as you anointed their father, that they may minister to Me as priests; for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations." Thus Moses did; according to all that the LORD has commanded him, so did he.
Those orders were carried out. And they had to be ready so God could put His glory in Israel's midst. That instruction is given back in Exodus 25.
Exodus 25:8-9 And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.
That was all done. And so now we have arrived at the place where the tabernacle is just about ready to be used. Let us go to Numbers 7, because chronologically this is where the chronology continues. (In Leviticus comes detailed instructions for the sacrifices—a wide variety of laws that have to do with life and with sacrifice.)
Numbers 7:1-2 Now it came to pass, when Moses had finished setting up the tabernacle, that he anointed it and consecrated it and all its furnishings, and the altar and all its utensils; so he anointed them and consecrated them. Then the leaders of Israel, the heads of their fathers' houses, who were the leaders of the tribes and over those who were numbered, made an offering.
Beginning in verse 3 begins a description of the offerings that were brought. The way that it was done was that each day one of the princes of Israel brought forth the offering from that particular family (that tribe). There were twelve of them. So that took twelve days for that to be done, and now where are we? On the twelfth day of the first month of the second year, the tabernacle was finally fully operational. We are now only two days from the second Passover they ever celebrated.
Everything needed for transferring the responsibility for Passover from the family to the tabernacle was now in place. The children of Israel were even encamped right around the tabernacle. It sat in their midst. And would not it have been an easy thing for them to just walk a short distance to the tabernacle and watch the priests sacrifice the lambs? Handy! But let us jump to chapter 9. Here we are now—right in the day.
Numbers 9:1-3 Now the LORD spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying: "Let the children of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight (ben ha arbayim), you shall keep it at its appointed time. According to all its rites and ceremonies you shall keep it."
Not one change! Boy, did God pass up an opportunity! He let that one slide by! No changes whatsoever even after all the instructions for the sacrifices were given. And there was a priesthood to do it; and there was a tabernacle to do it in; and there was an altar to do it on. And they were "so handy." They were right there. And God did not do anything. He left it the way it was! (You almost begin to think that men somehow "know" better than God does.)
Numbers 9:9-12 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'If anyone of you or your posterity is unclean because of a corpse, or is far away on a journey, he may still keep the LORD's Passover. On the fourteenth dayof the second month, at twilight (ben ha arbayim), they may keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They shall leave none of it until morning (boqer), nor break one of its bones. According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it.
Still no change! The orders from God are to do it the same way as the first one was done. God required very specific sacrifices to be made at the tabernacle (and later, of course, at the temple). There was a sacrifice for every day. There were special sacrifices for the Sabbath, for the new moon, every feast day. And the commands for these things are given in Numbers 28 and 29.
Now, we are going to turn there. MaybeGod missed it the first time around here; and so, a little bit later He thinks about it? Maybe then He will get it in here? Did you hear what I said? God gave specific sacrifices for every day, every Sabbath, every new moon, every holy day, every festival. Okay—here we find it.
Numbers 28:2 "Command the children of Israel, and say to them, 'My offering, My food for My offerings made by fire as a sweet aroma to Me, you shall be careful to offer to Me at their appointed time.'"
Do you think it does not make any difference to God? "Be careful that you do it at the appointed time." In verses 3 and 4, comes the evening and morning sacrifice again. Verse 9—"And on the Sabbath day, two lambs in their first year, without blemish. . ." Verse 11—"At the beginnings of your months you shall present a burnt offering to the Lord."—that is the new moons.
Numbers 28:17-19 And in the fifteenth day of the month is the feast; unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work. And you shall present an offering made by fire as a burnt offering to the LORD. . .
Verse 26 is Pentecost. In chapter 29 and verse 1, the first day of the seventh month, we have Trumpets. In verse 7, "on the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation," we have Atonement and its offerings.
Numbers 29:12 On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work, and you shall keep a feast to the LORD seven days.
That is the Feast of Tabernacles.
Numbers 29:35 On the eighth day you shall have a sacred assembly. You shall do no customary work.
Then come the sacrifices for that day [the Last Great Day]. But I skipped one! Look at verse 16.
Numbers 28:16-19 On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of the LORD. And on the fifteenth day of this month is the feast; unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work. And you shall present an offering made by fire. . .
There is no sacrifice specified for the Passover except the lamb. I mean, the lamb that they slaughtered at their own home!
Brethren, the evidence is overwhelming! And yet there are people who get hung up on one verse, because it seems to be different from the others. Even though there are ninety-nine verses that show Passover is to be kept at the beginning of the fourteenth, and there is [only] one verse that seems to indicate that it ought to be at the end of the fourteenth—they will hang tenaciously to the one verse that gives the appearance that there is supposed to be a Passover at the end of the fourteenth. (It is an interesting "approach" to scholarship. Very interesting.)
Conspicuous by its absence here in Numbers 28—right in the midst of detailed instructions for all the required tabernacle/temple sacrifices—there is nothing (zilch, zero) mentioned for the Passover. That is because God never intended any Passover sacrifice to be made at the tabernacle, or temple. Nowhere in the Pentateuch, the first five books, is there a command to sacrifice any Passover lamb—specifically for Passover—at the tabernacle.
The Passover was intended by God to be a domestically killed sacrifice and a domestically observed festival. Did you notice that there was not "a holy convocation" even suggested? No command to get together for a church service in this, because they were at home. They observed it at home.
In Exodus 12:24, in this context the word "you" means each individual Israelite.
Exodus 12:24-25 "And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. [It is established by law.] It will come to pass when you come to the land [Notice, "into the land."] which the LORD will give you. . .
We are looking here beyond the period of time when Israel was wandering in the wilderness, and looking forward to when they are in the land.
Exodus 12:25-27 . . .just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. [Talking about Passover.] And it shall be, when your children say to you, 'What do you mean by this service?' That you shall say, 'It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.'" So the people bowed their heads and worshipped.
Now, consider this: Would the children even have known to have asked about the Passover sacrifice if they had not been there to observe it going on? God expected them to see it. And they would be curious. They saw it at home.
Later on, when we begin to get to what the sacrifices were done like at the temple, you are going to understand that hardly anybody saw the lambs being killed—let alone the children! And there was a reason for that. There was not enough room. Do you know how "big" the tabernacle was? Do you know how "big" the temple was? It was not a big building.
These kids, God expected, would be seeing it at home, and they would be curious. Just a little thing, but it is another piece of information that lends weight to what we are talking about here.
Now, if you ever do any more extensive study of things pertaining to the Bible, you are eventually going to run into a man by the name of Philo. Philo was a Jew who lived in Alexandria, Egypt. He was a Greek-educated man, and he would have to be considered as one of the greats of this world. He left behind him a great number of writings.
Philo was born somewhere between 15-10 BC That's interesting because he was born just before Jesus Christ. He lived all through the period of time of Jesus Christ. (But he was not an eyewitness, because he was in Alexandria while Jesus was in Jerusalem.) Philo died somewhere around 60-70 AD, but he lived right through this period of time in which Passover becomes a focus of attention. That is, the time when Jesus and the apostles were keeping the Passover.
Philo did not report on the Christians keeping it, but he did report on the Jews keeping it, and what he had to say is very interesting. This man was a contemporary of Josephus but, undoubtedly, a man of much greater insight. Josephus was a warrior—a general. This man was a scholar, which is kind of interesting.
Philo's book is called The Decalogue ("the ten"). On page 159 [he states]:
. . .the day called by the Hebrews in their own tongue, the Pasch [meaning Passover], on which [Listen to this.] the whole people sacrifice, every member of them, without waiting for the priests, because the law has granted to the whole nation for one special day in every year the right of the priesthood and of performing the sacrifice themselves.
Right at the time when Passover becomes a focus, the Jews are keeping it both ways! And, undoubtedly, the smaller group of them—but those who were in power, the intellects of society (the Sadducees, the Scribes, and the Pharisees)—were the ones who were keeping it at the temple. The "common man" (those who were keeping it)—the great bulk of the people—were doing it themselves at their homes, exactly as God said.
Another quote from Philo, in a book called DeSpec, page 45:
After the New Moon comes the fourth feast, called the crossing feast, which the Hebrews in their native tongue call 'Pascha' [Passover]. In this festival many myriads of victims are offered—by the whole people, old and young alike, raised for that particular day to the dignity of the priesthood. For at other times the priests according to the ordinance of the law carry out both the public sacrifices and those offered by private individuals. But on this occasion the whole nation performs the sacred rites and acts as priests. . .
Very interesting! That clearly agrees with what God revealed through Moses. Both practices were going on at the same time—with the domestic Passover being observed at the beginning of the fourteenth, and the temple-killed Passover on the late afternoon of the fourteenth and eaten on the fifteenth.
When we get to looking into the Passover in the New Testament, we are going to see that Jesus (who never sinned, nor followed the traditions of the Jews where they conflicted with the commands of God) kept the domestic sacrifice.
Leviticus 17:1-7 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aaron, to his sons, and to all the children of Israel, and say to them, 'This is the thing which the LORD has commanded, saying: "Whatever man of the house of Israel who kills an ox or a lamb or goat in the camp, or who kills it outside the camp, and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting to offer an offering to the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD, the guilt of bloodshed [blood guilt] shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people, to the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices which they offer in the open field, that they may bring them to the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to the priest, and offer them as peace offerings to the LORD. And the priest shall sprinkle the blood on the altar of the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and burn the fat for a sweet aroma to the LORD. They shall no more offer their sacrifices to demons, after whom they have played the harlot. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.
That applied to every sacrifice except the Passover. That was the one exception, and that is why Philo wrote as he did. It was so distinctive that it deserved, according to him, a quote in his books.
Let us begin to conclude this for today and observe the differences between the two—the [original] early fourteenth as contrasted to the [traditional] late fourteenth. There are six of them:
#1 With the original one, the lamb was killed at the beginning of the fourteenth.
With the traditional one, the lamb was killed at the end of the fourteenth.
#2 With the original Passover, the lamb was killed at home.
With the traditional one, the lamb was killed at the temple.
#3 With the original one, the blood was sprinkled on the doorposts.
With the traditional one, the blood was sprinkled on the altar and the fat was burned on the altar.
#4 With the original Passover, the lamb was eaten the night of the fourteenth.
With the traditional one, the lamb was eaten on the night of the fifteenth.
#5 The original one commemorates Passover.
The traditional one commemorates the Exodus.
#6 With the original one, Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread totals eight days.
With the traditional one, the seven days of Unleavened Bread are incorrectly called "Passover."
I think that, by seeing this comparison, one can see what these major reinterpretations and alterations have done. They had significantly changed the meaning of Passover and Unleavened Bread.
Now, what is so interesting is that the Jews admit it. And that we will begin to see next week.