Shalom chaverim v' mishpacha;
I have been encouraged to share this teaching with others who have not had the opportunity to experience the Pesach as given to the exiles in Shemoth 12.
Before I get into this, let me remind everyone that we are indeed in exile today among the nations, just as ancient Yisrael was in exile in Mitzrayim when the Pesach was revealed to them.
There was no Temple; there were no priests; there was no Alter, just as we find ourselves today!
First: a bit of personal history, that you may know where I have come from.
I began attending a sunday keeping church when I was very young, not with my family, but by myself on most occasions, though accompanied by my sisters at times. I sincerely feel that Abba YAH was working with me and on me throughout my life. That is not to say I have lived a righteous life. Far from it; I have lived in confusion and downright rebellion most of my life, a product of the 60's generation.
But it also due to this rebelious streak that I was able to remove myself from the lifestyle of many of my peers.
When I was sent overseas by the military in '69 I came to the realization that there was more to life then the moment. I also realized that in spite of my many years in the christian church, I had never read The Book of Scriptures. Yes; I had read my memory Scriptures every week to repeat them sunday morn. for class, but that was it.
The first religious service I attended after being sent to S.E. Asia the chaplian made the comment that we young men must take condoms with us whenever we went to town. Now I knew enough from my youth to know that this contradicted what Scriptures taught about morality. So I decided to search out the views of differing religions to see if any of them had any real insight into the meaning of life. After a cursory study of Buddaism; Hinduism; Islam; Judaism; and Christianity I had narrowed down what seemed to be most logical to the Jewish and Christian faiths, and since they shared the same "Old Testament" I bought my first KJV and proceeded to read it from cover to cover.
I was amazed and astonished at the many things I read in there which I had never heard taught from the pulpit. I read about Feasts and Laws which were commanded to be kept forever, which only the Jews appeared to be keeping, for surely, no christian church I knew of was keeping them.
But I had a problem with Judaism; they did not accept the Messiah, and I seen no way for us humans in our wretched conditions to be "saved" without a Savior.
I decided to re-read the Scriptures; this time taking notes along the way, especially notes concerning the teachings of The Torah.
When I got out of the military and was preparing for marriage, I took my notes to the pastor and questioned him concerning these discrepencies in what Scripture said and what the church taught. After several questions I was told to leave and never come back. So I began searching for a congregation which acknowledged and accepted The Feasts and the Torah commands. This eventually led me to WCG which I attended faithfully for almost 30 years, but even with their teachings I had some disputes, but since they were the only group I knew who kept the Feasts, I went along with them.
Now! Concerning the Pesach of the exiles:
As those who are familiar with Worldwide Church of g-d know, in the mid 90's they gave up what true doctrine they had and decided to appease the christian churches by reverting back to sunday worship and eating unclean, along with giving up the Feasts.
I spent 2 years not keeping Pesach because I didn't know how to do it, then it struck me. I am an exile. I am sure I have Yisraelite bloodlines as our family name is common among the Jews, so what could I find in Scriptures to help me understand?
First I recalled that Yisrael itself was in exile in Mitzrayim and YHWH gave Moshe very explicit directions to the Yisraelites on how to keep Pesach while in exile. So I prayed and fasted concerning this and it became so obvious that I was ashamed I had not seen it before. Keep the Pesach of the Exiles!
So let's turn to Shemoth 12 and read the instructions given.
Shemoth 12:3+5 Two points here; notice WHO is to take this lamb, THE WHOLE CONGREGATION OF YISRAEL!!! Also note, it is to be A MALE LAMB OF THE FIRST YEAR; UNBLEMISHED! Why is this? We will come to that.
Shemoth 12: 8,9+46 Now we are given two more specific details concerning the preparation of the lamb.
First: it is to be roasted with fire. Not baked; broiled; fried; or boiled!
Second: It is to be roasted whole, Not butchered; broken; or dismembered. (Although II Chron.35:11 does allow for the skinning of the lamb).
Why are these specific details so important? We have a major clue in verse 14.
Shemoth 12:14 This day and all that goes into it was/is to be a memorial. A memorial of Yisrael's deliverance from Mitzrayim. Verses 26+27.
This word 'deliverance' is a very key word, for not only does it point back to the exodus; but it also points forward to an even greater and more desirable 'deliverance'. Our deliverance from sin and the death penalty it requires. This being fulfilled through Yahushua; our Pesach Lamb, Who was/is spotless and blemish free.
I Cor. 5:7 "...for even Moshiach, our Pesach was sacrificed for us."
This is why the Pesach lamb, which is a picture of Yahushua HaMashiach, had to be blemish free and not broken or seperated! To partake of anything less then the whole lamb is to say that Moshiach's righteousness, HIS wholeness, doesn't matter.
At this point; let us digress momentarily. For we need to ask ourselves a few questions and search out the answers.
Why did not Yahuah bring Yisrael into The Land immediately after the Sinai experience?
And after HE did bring Yisrael into The Land, why did HE send them again into exile?
If you have read the Writtings/ Ketuvim of The Tanach, you know it was because Yisrael had/has a proclivity for mixing pagan worship with the True worship of Elohim. Adulterating HIS pure worship. As is repeated so many times in the Book of Shophtim/Judges "they did what was right in their own eyes".
How much like the churches today! Yea! How much like many Messianic assemblies today!!!
Do the words of our Elohim resonate in our being today? Or do we allow human "teachers" to continue to lead us astray? The truth is; many of us fail to study out the more difficult things ourselves, prefering to let others give us their interpretations. Regretably; there are those who have their own agandas to promote and support, and they are very happy to do so among those who follow blindly. This is the very problem I look back upon in WCG, and why so many were devastated at it's demise.
Let us now return to the Pesach and perhaps begin to recognize just how important a moed it is!
AS a memorial service commanded by Yahuah we know Pesach is a very important moed, but do we realize just how important it is?
Think about this! It is the only moed which has an alternative date in case someone is unable to keep the First Pesach. We read about this in Bamidbar/Numbers 9:2-12 where 'certain men' were unable to keep Yahuah's Pesach.
I suggest reading and re-reading verse 13 until the point finally sinks in.
Bamidbar 9:13 "but the man that is clean, or is not on a journey, AND FAILS TO KEEP THE PESACH; EVEN THE SAME BEING SHALL BE CUT OFF FROM AMONG HIS PEOPLE.."
Now re-read verse 3! Not only must you keep it in it's apointed time; but we are to keep it by all "it's rites and ceremonies"!!!.
In this section of Scriptures we see the awesome rachamim/mercy of YAH. Yahuah is an El of 'second chances'. This goes hand in hand with the words of Kepha/Peter in II Pet.3:9.
There is another element of Pesach which appears to go un-noticed by many, yet it spotlights Pesach as special.
In Shemoth 12:48 at the end of the verse we read that no uncircumcised male is to eat the Pesach.
This is the only moed which holds this stipulation.( Remember; this Pesach is not considered an offering, thus the rules for offerings does not apply.)
Could this be the very thing Yaacov was thinking when he made the proclamation in Acts 15:13-21?
If these 'new' believers were allowed to fellowship and keep all the Feasts except Pesach, because they were not circumcised, then the necessity for circumcision becomes more pronounced. And if the faith and desire to keep Pesach is not strong enough motivation to lead to circumcision, then it is probably not strong enough to stand up to the trials and tribulations which make up our refining process.
Perhaps this is one of the things alluded to in II Cor. 27-30.
At any rate; we who acknowledge the wisdom and instruction of Torah need to meditate and pray concerning our own worthiness. We need to carefully weigh the teachings of men with the teaching of Torah; especially The Living Torah.
We have a loving and merciful Elohim; One Who has chosen to reveal HIMSELF in many ways, not the least of which is through HIS moedim. In fact, HIS whole plan of salvation for mankind is revealed through HIS moedim. With this in mind, let us again consider just how important is Pesach!
The Perfect Lamb of Elohim was spotless and unblemished (spiritually and physically). HE was takenin HIS innocence and offered as a sacrifice for our sins.
We, on the other hand, are full of sin. Our thoughts; our actions; our words; and our motivations are based in sin. We are totally unclean and detestable in light of Elohim's Righteousness. Yet; by HIS choice, HE manifested HIS "Right Arm", the personification of Yahushua, to shed HIS innocent and Righteous blood that our filth might be covered.
At HIS last Pesach with HIS talmidim, HE instituted 2 'new' items, (which were already there but until that time their symbolism was not understood).
The matzah; the unleavened bread, which represented HIS sinless body now took on a whole new meaning, a much more personal meaning. And the wine; symbolic of HIS blood, which was and is our redemption.
By accepting and partaking of the Pesach, we are acknowledging HIS sacrifice for us. This is the first step in our redemption, ~~~Is it any wonder then that it's importance is such that it merited an alternative date?
So as we keep Yahuah's Pesach this year and every year, we are in fact memorializing our being redeemed by our Savior; Yahushua.
And as we go on to keep the rest of Yahuah's moedim, we find each one pictures a step or process in HIS overall plan for salvation.
This is why it is so important for us to grasp the deeper significance of HIS Torah and HIS moedim.
May Abba YAH grant each and everyone of us with HIS Ruach of wisdom; discernment; and understanding. May HE strengthen us for the trials to come, and help us see over the horizon as we await the Restoration of HIS Kingdom.