Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
PASSOVER IN TYPE AND IN ANTITYPE
"Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore
let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the
leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened
bread of sincerity and truth."
The Passover ceremonies, the first institution of Divine favor with the nation of Israel, prefigured the first institution of Divine favor inaugurated by our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, or Holy Communion. As the Apostle indicated in our text, the Jewish Passover was a foreshadowing, or typifying, of the better things, the real Passover, with which we Christians have to do.
We are not wholly dependent upon the Jewish type for our information, however; for we have clear, Divine statements by our Lord and His Apostles respecting the relationship between Christ and His Church and respecting the special salvation of the Elect. Nevertheless, we find in the Passover type many details which assist us greatly in the understanding of the Antitype.
First of all we should notice that the Passover directly affected only the first-borns of Israel, although it indirectly affected all the remainder of Israel. That is to say, the last plague upon Egypt was the death of all their first-borns; and the Passover celebrates the fact that the first-borns of Israel were spared, or passed over, by the destroying angel in that night. As the younger children of the Egyptians were not endangered, neither were the younger children of the Israelites. Hence the latter were not passed over. Yet they were certainly interested in the passing over, or sparing, of the first-borns, not merely because of their relationship, but because in the Lord’s providence those first-borns became leaders and deliverers of the people on the next day, as they went forth from Egypt.—
Furthermore, those first-borns of Israel, exchanged by Divine direction for the entire tribe of Levi, were thereafter represented in them; and they, as the sacrificing priests and the teaching Levites, became the ministers of the Law Covenant for that nation. The antitype of this was distinctly pointed out by the Apostle Paul; namely, that the elect Church of this Gospel Age is "the Church of the First-borns, which are written in Heaven."
These are to be the "able ministers of the New [Law] Covenant."—
These first-borns alone are being dealt with during this Gospel Age, or "night." These alone are in danger of a death penalty. As the Apostle declares, if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for our sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour us as the adversaries of God and of righteousness. (
.) Nevertheless, the whole world of mankind is certainly interested in this Church of the First-borns, in its successful passing over, its attainment of everlasting life; for these are the Royal Priesthood and the instructors of the New Covenant, which is shortly to be sealed, and by the terms of which all the families of the earth are to be blessed. All mankind will receive the blessing of reconciliation to God through the knowledge of the Truth and through the blessings of the Millennial Kingdom, associated with the New Covenant.—
JESUS THE PASSOVER LAMB
Having noted the first-born class, we should discern clearly also the Passover lamb, through the merit of whose blood the passing over of the first-borns was effected. The lamb is a peculiarly innocent animal, wholly unprepared for defense or resistance, and thus a suitable picture, or type, of our Lord, who was non-resistant and who fully and freely surrendered His rights and His earthly interests on our behalf—on behalf of the
First-borns. True, others than the First-borns will ultimately profit by His sacrifice, but these especially and peculiarly so. Thus far God’s only dealings during this Gospel Age are with this class. These alone have an Advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the Righteous. (
.) These alone thus far are reconciled to God.
All of God’s blessings to the unbelievers must come in the future, under the New Covenant; for only believers can be justified by faith and receive the blessings of the Faith Covenant—the Abrahamic Covenant. "The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world," first saves, or passes over, the Church of the First-borns, and later in the Millennium will bless all who become Abraham’s seed.
There are pictures of the Church which represent her as participating with the Lord in His sacrifice; but this Passover type is not one of these. The Passover lamb represented our Lord Jesus Christ as "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (
.) But the sin of the world has not yet been taken away.
Our Lord has not yet applied His merit for the world, but only and expressly for the Household of Faith. In another sacrifice, which represents our Lord and the Church conjointly sacrificing, as Head and members, the body of the animal was cut into various pieces and laid with the Head upon the altar, thus typifying Christ Jesus as the Head and the Church as His members. (Exod. 29:15-18.) But provision was made that the Passover sacrifice was not to be divided. It was to be eaten whole—not a bone was to be broken. It represented, not Christ and the Church, but Christ alone in His sacrifice.—Exod. 12:46;
"IN THAT NIGHT"
Be it remembered that the passing over took place in the night, not in the daylight. When the morning arrived, the Israelites went forth out of the land of Egypt
to liberty, to freedom from bondage. But during the night they were still in bondage, waiting for the deliverance which could come only after the passing over of the first-borns. That night of the type represented this Gospel Age.
This same thought is given by our Lord when He says, "Let your light so shine before men"; again, "Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house." (
.) The Apostle Peter expresses the same thought, saying, "We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the Day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts." (
.) Again, the Prophet, speaking of the Church, says, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."—
Numerous other Scriptures refer to the new Millennial Dispensation as the Morning in which the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His beams, and in which the shadows of superstition and works of darkness shall all be driven away. The appropriateness of this figure must be evident to every reasonable mind.
God’s people are children of the Day in the sense that their hopes and sentiments belong, not to the darkness of sin, not to the night-time, but to the Day, to the Reign of Righteousness, for which they are praying, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, even as it is done in Heaven."
Eighteen centuries ago our Lord said that He had come as a Light into the world, but that men loved darkness rather than light. (
#Joh 8:12; 3:19-21
.) Only a few yet recognize Him as "the true Light." But eventually He will "light every man that cometh into the world." (
.) Indeed, His Church are invited to become associated with Him as lamp-bearers; and if faithful in permitting their light to shine now, they will
by and by be parts of that great Sun of Righteousness which shall heal the world with its beams. Our Lord pointed this out in the parable of the Wheat and the Tares. He declared that in the end of this Age He would gather the wheat into the barn; and that then should "the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father." (
.) Alas, that so few have "an ear to hear" and accept the wonderful teachings of the Divine Plan!
BLOOD ON THE DOORPOSTS ALL NIGHT
The Israelites were instructed that the blood of the lamb must be sprinkled on the doorposts and the lintels of their houses that night. This indicated that all who would belong to the Household of Faith must believe in the precious blood of Christ, and thus be "justified by faith" irrespective of denomination. To believe thus would make us members of the Household of Faith; but it would not determine whether or not we would be of the First-borns. The Very Elect, the Saints, the Royal Priesthood, have this place of seniority in the Household of Faith—not by reason of natural years, but by reason of spiritual development. They are priests, elders, in the sense of their primacy of development in the character-likeness of their Redeemer, which also indicates their faith and obedience.
We cannot emphasize too strongly the fact that this is the Scriptural teaching. We are not merely to believe that Jesus lived, that Jesus died. We are especially to believe that He died SACRIFICIALLY, "the Just for the unjust," and are to accept our share of the redemption which He secured by His precious blood. The sprinkling of the blood upon the doorposts in the type implied public confession of the precious blood of the Lamb of God, in His death and in its efficacy for us, which is thus signified.
It will be remembered that the Israelites were enjoined against going out of the house during the night; for when the Lord would pass through to smite the
Egyptians, He would see the blood upon lintels and doorposts, and would not suffer the destroying angel to come into their houses. (Exod. 12:1-13.) The injunction that those under the door sprinkled with blood should not go out from under it during that night had special application and force with respect to the first-borns. Antitypically it signifies that if any of us who are of the First-borns should go out from under the blood, in the sense of denying the merit, the efficacy, of the blood of Jesus, the penalty of such a course would be death—the Second Death—hopeless extinction.—
#Heb 6:4-6; 10:26-31
EATING THE LAMB
As the blood of the lamb marked the household of faith, not merely the first-borns of that household, so the eating of the lamb was not merely for the first-borns, but for all the household. So our Lord said, "My flesh is meat indeed"; and again, "This is the Bread which came down from Heaven; he that eateth of this Bread shall live forever." (
.) In other words, not only was it necessary that Jesus should die, a meritorious Sacrifice, but it is also necessary that all who would have profit through His Sacrifice must feed upon Him—must appropriate the merit of His Sacrifice.
The eating of the lamb pictured, or typified, the appropriation, by the Household of Faith, of those earthly rights and interests which were forfeited by Adam’s disobedience and redeemed by Jesus’ death. In other words, it signifies our appropriating justification from sin. We eat by faith, and therefore are said to be "Justified by faith." By faith we are permitted to count ourselves as fully reinstated in God’s favor through the merit of Christ’s Sacrifice, even as we were debarred from Divine favor through the demerit of Adam’s sin. The eating of the lamb signifies the appreciation of these things and the appropriation of them to ourselves. The more we eat, the greater is our feeling of satisfaction in respect to our
freedom from condemnation and our reinstatement in Divine favor through the merit of our Passover Lamb.
THE BLOOD OF THE NEW COVENANT
Year by year for more than sixteen centuries the Jews kept the Passover by Divine decree—not merely the sacrifice of the lamb and the eating of it on the same night, after the doorposts had been sprinkled with blood, but additionally a feast of seven days following. That Passover feast represented the joys and rejoicings, the blessings and favors of relationship to God, based upon the merit of the Passover lamb—its sacrifice and the eating thereof. Yet the Jews understood not the meaning of what they did. It was not necessary that they should understand. When God’s due time came, the explanation would be granted.
That due time came on the night in which our Lord was betrayed—the night of the fourteenth day of the first month, the very night of the typical killing of the Passover lamb. The Master gathered about Him His twelve Apostles. They had their usual Passover supper of roast lamb; and afterwards our Lord introduced what we familiarly term "The Lord’s Supper"—a new symbolization of the antitypical Passover.
What our Lord introduced was to take the place of the Jewish ceremony with His followers, to carry out the same thought, but on a higher plane, as representing a clearer, better understanding of the matter. Instead of the lamb would be the unleavened bread, representing our Lord’s flesh. This He distributed to His Apostles, saying, "This is My body, which is given for you; this do in remembrance of Me." (
.) The eating of that unleavened bread represented their appropriating to themselves of the merit of Christ’s sacrifice—their justification by faith.
Then our Lord added a new feature—"the cup." For while all believers might partake of the bread, might realize justification through the merit of His sacrifice,
yet only a certain class of believers were invited to partake of the blood. The cup represented death. Ordinarily, under the Jewish Law, the partaking of blood would represent blood-guiltiness, or responsibility for the death. (
.) But our Lord gave His disciples fruit of the vine as symbolic of His blood; and He urged upon them its appropriation, saying, "This cup is the New Testament in My blood, which is shed for you," and "for many." "Drink ye all of it."—
This invitation to drink of His blood signifies a participation with Christ as His members in a sacrifice of earthly life, earthly interests, hopes, aims, ambitions—everything.
All who accept this invitation to drink of His blood thereby pledge their lives in the same service for which He gave His life. This thought is entirely additional to anything in the Jewish Passover type. There is no intimation that any of the household were to partake of the blood of the slain lamb. Nevertheless we who now accept our Lord’s proposition to share in His blood and lay down our lives with Him in defense of the Truth, thereby mark ourselves as elder brothers in the Household of Faith, members of the First-borns with our Lord, our Redeemer, and as prospectively the Royal Priesthood.
Therefore whoever intelligently partakes of the Memorial Supper thereby indicates two things: (1) His faith in Jesus as the Passover Lamb, and his appreciation and participation in the merit of Jesus—his justification by faith; and (2) his membership in the Body of Christ, all the members of which agree to be broken—membership in that "little flock" whose faithfulness is manifested by drinking of the Master’s cup—sharing with Him in His sacrifice, suffering with Him in order to reign with Him.—