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RANSOM FORESHADOWED IN PASSOVER
A ransom for man must be provided because God gave his promise that he would provide it and purchase man, saying, long ago, through his prophet Hosea (13:14): “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; o grave, I will be thy destruction.” “Ransom” means an exact corresponding price; that is to say, that which purchases at the market-place or has the purchasing power. A perfect man violated God’s law and was put to death therefor. The law of God is his will expressed. Looking to the provision for redemption God’s law provided a ‘life for a life’. (Deut. 19:21) Strictly construed, that law means that a perfect human life must be given as a substitute for or in the place of the perfect human life which God took away from the first man Adam because of Adam’s wrongdoing.
‘Sacrificing’ means the slaughter of a victim, and involves the act of offering or presenting the life of that victim to the one authorized to receive the same. Since a perfect human life must be given to provide a ransom for man, it follow that there must be a sacrifice of a perfect human life. And since the loss of life by Adam was because of sin, it follows that the sacrifice of the perfect human life to provide the ransom or purchase price also involves the act of offering or presenting the value of that perfect life as a sin-offering. Jehovah God being the One authorized to receive the sin-offering, that sin-offering must be presented to Jehovah by one having access to Jehovah.
The life of all flesh is in the blood. For this reason God commanded that the blood of a creature should not be eaten. (Gen. 9:4; Deut. 12:23) “For,” says God law, “it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eat it shall be cut off.” (Lev. 17:14) The blood of a creature poured out means that a victim has been sacrificed or slaughtered, and that the life has been poured out. It follows, then, that the provision for the ransom and sin-offering must involve the shedding of blood of a perfect human creature.
Pious frauds, called preachers or clergymen, who have no faith in God and no sincere desire to honor his name, hold up their hands in pretended horror at the mention of the slaughter of animals by the Jews in connection with their atonement day ceremonies. If these sanctimonious clergymen believed the Bible, which they claim to teach, they would know that the Jews in sacrificing animals as an offering did so because the law of God commanded the same to be done. (Lev. 17:11) It being done in obedience to the law of God, all men must know that it was right. “As for God, his way is perfect.” (Ps. 18:30; 2 Sam. 22:31) All of his works are perfect. (Job 37:16; Deut. 32:4) ‘Jehovah’s word is right.’ (Ps. 33:4) “The law of the Lord is perfect.” (Ps. 19:7) In the face of all these declarations from the Word of Jehovah men stand before a company of people and denounce the sacrifice of animals which God commanded must be done. Surely no one could say that such men represent Jehovah.
“Law” means rule of action. Whatsoever rule of action or law God has made for the obtaining of everlasting life, that way is perfect and right, the opinions of men notwithstanding. God’s way is complete and there is no other way. Whatsoever law or rule of action God has made to foreshadow the way to life, God had good reason for so making, and such law or rule is just and true. His law or rule commanded the Jews to do certain things which formed living pictures or moving pictures. Note now, first, the picture; second, what the picture foreshadowed, and, third, the reality in fulfillment thereof. One understanding these in the order named will have his faith in God increased, and will love God more and will have a greater desire to walk in the way which the Lord God has commanded.
When the Israelites were about to take their departure from Egypt and out of their house of bondage, there Jehovah prepared to make, and did make, a wonderful picture. The importance of this picture is suggested by the fact that God commanded that the day of the making of it should mark the beginning of months with the Israelites. The picture began on the tenth day of the first month and reached its climax on the fourteenth day thereof. That month is called Nisan, and corresponds approximately with the present month of April. The Israelites were required to repeat this picture at the same time each year, throughout their generations. - Ex. 12:l-14.
Speaking to the Israelites through the prophet Moses God commanded that on the tenth day of the first month each house or family of the Israelites should select a lamb for sacrifice. In obedience to God’s command Moses assembled the leaders of Israel and instructed them in detail as to what they should do. The substance of his instructions follows:
“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year; ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts, and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 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. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.
“And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. 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 the head, and worshipped.“ - Ex. 12:5-8, 11-14, 26, 27.
There is no proof that indicates that the Jews understood the meaning of what they were about to do. They had the command from Jehovah through Moses, and that was sufficient. Because of their faith they proceeded. On the tenth day of the month a lamb without blemish was selected by each household. On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month the lamb was killed. The blood of the lamb was then put upon the lintel of the door and the two doorposts at the sides of the door. Then the lamb was roasted whole, without a bone’s being broken.
All the members of the house assembled within the house, and there together they ate the lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, and waited for the angel, as the executive officer of Jehovah, to pass through the land. At midnight, God’s angel, as his executive officer, passed throughout the land of Egypt and slew the first-born of every household of the Egyptians, from the slave to the king. The Jews who had obeyed God had the blood of the lamb sprinkled upon their doorposts, as above indicated; and where this blood appeared in obedience to God’s command the angel of the Lord passed by and the first-born of that household was saved. - Ex. 12:25-30.
Can it be said, then, that the Israelites were protected and their first-born saved from death because of the lamb’s blood? No; the blood of the animal did not of itself saw them. God saved them because of their faith in him, and they exercised their faith in what that blood represented. Their obedience then to God’s command showed their faith. The blood of the lamb poured out and sprinkled upon the doorposts foreshadowed much more than any man could then understand. In God’s clue time he would permit man to understand the full import thereof.
Aside from the vindication of the name and word of Jehovah God the ransom sacrifice is the most important thing foreshadowed by this picture. Many other minor things are foreshadowed, but the ransom is of superior importance. The picture foreshadowed that some time in the future there must be a victim selected for sacrificing; that the victim must be sacrificed by the pouring out of his blood; and that this would be of the greatest value to others. It would mean, and does mean, that only those who would exercise faith in the life poured out would ever find the way to everlasting life.
The command was that a lamb should be selected, a male of the first year. A lamb is a harmless creature. The victim foreshadowed by the lamb must he harmless. The command further provided that the lamb must be without blemish, which foreshadowed that the victim for sacrifice must be perfect and without blemish or sin. The lamb must be selected four days before it was slain. That foreshadowed that the victim which the lamb represented must be selected four literal days, and also four symbolic days of a thousand years each: before the life was poured out. For, it will be remembered, the apostle Peter set forth the, rule that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”. - 2 Pet. 3:8.
The pouring out of the blood of the lamb foreshadowed that the blood of the victim, which the lamb represented, must be poured out; and, since “the life is in the blood”, it foreshadowed that the life of the victim would be laid down for the benefit of others. All the members of the family must eat the flesh of the lamb roasted. To eat means to receive and to partake of food for the purpose of sustaining life. The eating of the flesh of the lamb foreshadowed that all people must receive that which the flesh of the lamb represented, and partake thereof by faith for the purpose of obtaining and sustaining life.
The passover was the beginning of God’s law to Israel. (Gal. 3:17) That law was given to foreshadow good things to come; the apostle Paul, in his epistle to Hebrews (10:l), speaks of “the law [as] having a shadow of good thing to come”. That law required the Jews to repeat the ceremony at the same time once each year, which would mean that they must continue it until that good thing which the law foreshadows should come.
With the coming of the Lord Jesus and the laying down of his life as a ransom for all mankind these good things foreshadowed in the passover did begin to come.