Taking a Second look at the Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread
by Robert Randle
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Exodus 12: 1-3, 6, 8
Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be your beginnings of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak to the entire congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. ‘Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.
“It shall come to pass when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. 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. Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: No foreigner shall it.” “And when a resident alien lives with you and wants to keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it.
Leviticus 23: 5-8
“On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD’S Passover. ‘And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. ‘On the first day you shall have a holy convocation [dress rehearsal]; you shall do no customary [occupational] work on it. ‘But you shall offer “an offering made by fire” to the LORD for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation [dress rehearsal]; you shall do no customary [occupational] work on it.’ “
NOTE: The “offering by fire” is the Burnt Offering, which in this instance consists of 2 lambs, 1/10 an ephah of flour mixed with 1/4 a hin of pressed oil [olive??], and 1/4 a hin of wine as a drink offering. It is an additional offering that is not found in Exodus 12, but it is enumerated to in Numbers 15: 1-12, which mentions at least 4 aspects of this particular offering, namely, that it is to be either, (1) a sacrificial offering; or (2) to fulfill a vow; or as (3) a freewill offering; and as (4) part of the appointed feasts.
Exodus 29: 38-45 (The Daily Offerings)
“Now this is what you shall offer on the altar [for a fire offering]: two lambs of the first year, day by day continually. “One lamb you shall offer in the morning and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight. “With the one lamb shall be (1) one-tenth of an ephah of the flour mixed with (2) one-fourth of a hin of pressed oil, and (3) one-fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering. “And the other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and you shall offer with it “the Grain Offering and the drink offering,” as in the morning, for a sweet aroma, “AN OFFERING MADE BY FIRE” to the LORD. “THIS SHALL BE A CONTINUAL BURNT OFFERING” throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD, where I will meet with you to speak with you.”
NOTE: The Daily Offering is part of the “Offering by Fire” (Cp. Numbers 28: 20) which is also the Burnt Offering, and is now incorporated into the Passover (Cp. Leviticus 23: 5-8).
Leviticus 1: 1-17 (The Burnt Offering)
1-3, 10, 14
Now the LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When any one of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of livestock- of the herd and of the flock. ‘If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD. ‘If his offering is of the flocks- of the sheep or of the goats- as a burnt sacrifice, he shall bring a male without blemish. ‘And if the burnt sacrifice of his offering to the LORD is of birds, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves or young pigeons.
NOTE: This is different from the requirement in Exodus 29: 38-45.
Leviticus 2: 1-16 (The Grain Offering)
When anyone offers a grain offering to the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour. And he shall pour oil on it, and put frankincense on it.
NOTE: The addition of “frankincense” is not mentioned previously.
Numbers 28: 16-25
“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 as a burnt offering” (Cp. Exodus 29: 45a) to the LORD; two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year; be sure they are without blemish. ‘Their “Grain Offering” shall be of fine flour mixed with oil [what kind??]; three-tenths of an ephah you shall offer for a bull, and two-tenths for a ram; you shall offer one-tenth of an ephah for each of the seven lambs; also one goat as a “Sin Offering,” to make atonement for you. ‘And you shall offer these besides the burnt offering of the morning, which is for a regular “Burnt Offering” (Cp. Exodus 29: 38-45; esp. verses 38, 42; Numbers 28: 1-8; esp. verses 3b-4, 6??). ‘In this manner you shall offer the food [grain or first fruits??] of the “Offering made by Fire” daily for seven days as a sweet aroma to the LORD; it shall be offered besides the regular burnt offering and its Drink offering. ‘And on the seventh day you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work.
NOTE: It would seem that the Feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread has gotten a lot more elaborate and became part of other celebrations like the Grain Offering (Cp. Leviticus 2: 1a), Burnt Offering (Cp. Leviticus 1: 1-3, 10, 14, 17b), the Monthly offerings (Cp. Numbers 28: 11-15), and the Daily Offerings (Cp. Exodus 29: 38-45), Passover [expanded] (Cp. Numbers 28: 16-25; esp. verse 24b).
Leviticus 4: 1-35 (The Sin Offering)
4: 1-2, 27-28, 32
Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments of the LORD in anything which ought not to be done, and does any of them, ‘If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally by doing something against any of the commandments of the LORD in anything which ought not to be done, and is guilty, ‘or if his sin which he has committed comes to his knowledge, then he shall bring as his offering a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed. ‘If he brings a lamb as his sin offering, he shall bring a female without blemish.”
NOTE: The Sin Offering only atoned for unintentional sins but presumptuous or willful sins were not forgiven (Numbers 15: 30-31). Interestingly, too, that the Sin offering is to be “female” instead of a “male” and the categories are: the sin of an anointed priest; the whole congregation; a ruler of the people; and the common person.
Deuteronomy 16: 1-8 (The Feast of Passover)
NOTE: A repeat of the original and simpler instructions found in Exodus 12: 1-8.
COMMENTARY: At a first glance, especially reading the Books of Exodus 12 and Deuteronomy 16, it would seem that Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread was a rather simple and straightforward affair, but the celebration expanded to incorporate other Offerings as well. One wonders if these additional components listed in the other Books of the Torah (Leviticus & Numbers, esp.,) were added much later by some unknown editor [redactor], or were these newer instructions the result of “progressive revelation?” Did the people in the Wilderness of Sinai and the land of Moab (Cp. Deuteronomy 29: 1) observe the Feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread as it was originally commanded in its simpler form as opposed to the more comprehensive regulations later? The reason for the merging of these other regulations into “Passover” is a beautiful spiritually symbolic teaching about the future work that the Messiah would perform, by being a substitute for sin in behalf of the people and all nations. Romans 3: 23-25, says: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus [Yeshua Moshiach], whom God set forth as a propitiation [“mercy seat”] by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had “passed over” the sins that were previously committed.
Ephesians 5: 2
And walk in love, as Christ [Messiah] also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
NOTE: This is the meaning in Leviticus 1: 17b, which says: “It is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire [on the altar], a sweet [smelling] aroma to the LORD.
ADDENDUM: In all the sacrifices and offerings found in Exodus 29: 41b-42; Leviticus 1: 17b; Numbers 28: 24b; the one thing that stands out is that it is to be presented to God as “a sweet-smelling aroma.” Also, reading Leviticus 2: 12 is the following: As for the offering of the first-fruits, you shall offer them to the LORD, but “THEY SHALL NOT BE BURNED ON THE ALTAR” for a sweet [smelling] aroma. This is because the first-fruits represent, firstly, the risen LORD Jesus, and then those believers in Christ who are brought forth from the grave (Cp. 1 Corinthians 15: 20, 23; James 1: 18).
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