These are the Regulations for the Passover

12: 43-51

    DIG: Which of these instructions seem exclusive? Inclusive? Without regulations, what would happen? What does this say about the importance of the Passover to God? Or to Israel?

   REFLECT: Who is supposed to partake of the Seder today (see First Corinthians 11:27)? What does the Bible mean when the Holy Spirit says: Whoever eats the Lord’s bread or drinks the Lord’s cup in an unworthy manner? What could happen if a mixed multitude of those from Egypt, or the world, partake with believers today?

    When the children of Israel reached Succoth, additional Passover instructions were given, probably because of the presence of many Egyptians, or the mixed multitude of 12:38, who had joined the Hebrews in the exodus.229

    Since the Passover was being instituted for the specific purpose of helping the Israelites remember that God had delivered them from slavery, foreigners would not be allowed to share in it.230 ADONAI said to Moses and Aaron His prophets: These are the regulations for the Passover. No foreigner, temporary resident or hired worker is to eat of it (12:43 and 12:45). Only those who identified themselves by faith with the people of God could take part in this observance.

    God spoke through His servant Moses when He said: It must be eaten inside one house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones (12:46, also see Numbers 9:12). King David, speaking prophetically of the coming Christ said: God protects all the Christ’s bones, not one of them will be broken (Psalm 34:20). The fulfillment of this is seen in the death of Christ in John’s gospel. But when they came to Jesus and found that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Christ’s side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water (John 19:33-36). The point is simply that Christ is the Passover Lamb (First Corinthians 5:7).

    To stress the idea of unity, the whole community of Israel, without exception, needed to celebrate it (12:47). Apparently that term signifies all who were circumcised, their wives and children, assembling for worship. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Covenant, translates the phrase: the whole community as synagogue because it has a similar meaning.231

    If the Passover was to remain an observance unique to Israel, no foreigner could participate in it (12:43). But because it was by virtue of a Divine call, and not through natural descent, that all the peoples on earth were to be blessed through Israel (Genesis 12:3b), if a Gentile wanted to identify himself or herself in faith with Israel, they were welcome.232 As a result, a wall was erected to shut out enemies, but the door was open to receive friends.233 Purchased slaves, as well as aliens living among the Israelites could participate, but only after being circumcised. Any slave you have bought may eat of it after you have circumcised him (12:44). An alien living among you, who has permanently settled with the Israelites, who wants to celebrate ADONAI’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the Land. No uncircumcised male may eat of it (12:48). Only in the most unusual circumstances (see, for example, Second Chronicles 30:15-20) did God accept any deviation from these restrictions.234

    If a man did not identify himself with the covenant promises by the rite of circumcision, he could not celebrate the Passover.235 The same teaching applies to the native-born Jew and to the permanent resident living among you (12:49).

    All the Israelites did just what ADONAI had commanded Moses and Aaron (12:50). Although this had been stated in 12:28, it is repeated here. In the former passage it is recorded in connection with the Passover in Egypt, but now it refers to the Passover in the wilderness (Numbers 9). They were absolutely obedient to the Word of God.

    And on the very day of the Egyptian Passover, ADONAI brought the Israelites out of Egypt. The exodus from Egypt was complete. All that God had promised to Moses (6:6 and 26) had been fulfilled. They left Succoth in an orderly fashion by their divisions (12:51). Their divisions, a term with military connotations, is a remarkable expression in reference to an oppressed people.236


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