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Passover: an important event in history

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By Gene Linzey

Passover! That’s a funny word. Is it a bridge? Jet planes flying over us? Someone who was not chosen in the NFL draft? What is it? Well, believe-it-or-not, it is one of the most important events in the history of mankind. A whirl-wind trip through time is necessary to check this out, so hang on and let’s go.To understand what you are about to read, please remember that all mankind is innately religious. This is true from the hard-core atheist to the ultra-conservative because the Creator made us that way.In the 1600s BC, Jacob’s family went to Egypt, which was then under the rule of the Hyksos (a Semitic-type people). This would enable the Egyptian second-in-command, Joseph, to take care of them. Jump ahead several hundred years. The ethnic African-Egyptian pharaoh (the “king who knew not Joseph”) defeated the invaders, regained control of his own land, and had neither respect nor compassion for Joseph’s kin-folk who were ethnically related to the recently defeated Hyksos. He was also worried that the Hebrew people might rise up against him, so he ordered them into forced labor. This was the first oppression or enslavement of the Hebrew people. Jump ahead a few more years. The first deliverer, Moses, came onto the scene. You know the story: “Let my people go, or you are in deep trouble!”Pharaoh did not comply with the order, so God produced the first nine plagues, which actually were a mockery of the Egyptian gods. You see, the Egyptians worshipped the Nile River, the fly, frog, body, sun, etc. They had an estimated 2,000 plus gods. (Most of the other peoples of the world also had an abundance of gods. Some still do.) But giving them an abundance of six of their gods, depriving them of one for three days (the sun, Ra), and messing up two (the Nile River and the body) did not convince Pharaoh of the supremacy of Jehovah (Hashem), so God set the 10th plague in motion. Now we slow down. The rest of the story runs from Genesis chapters 11-14.In order for Jehovah to convince the Pharaoh to release Joseph’s kin-folk, He planned one last event that would reveal the powerlessness of the Egyptian god who supposedly protected life. But this event also set the stage for the establishment of the Hebrew nation and of the Christian church.In ancient civilizations, the first-born son and first-born male animal was to be set aside for special service to the gods, and it was claimed that they were protected by the gods. Therefore, Jehovah decided to establish His superiority as the Living God, but still fulfill the demands of judgment over sin. In order to accomplish this arduous task, a blood sacrifice had to be given. How?On a certain night, the first-born son and first-born male animal of any household in Egypt, including the Israelites, would die and effectively be that sacrifice. However, if the family sacrificed a specified animal and put some of that blood over the doorpost of the house, the “death angel” would see the blood and pass over the house. Everyone (including the Egyptians) who spent that crucial night in a house with the sacrificial blood over the doorposts would be spared. Pharaoh would then free them to return to “the Promised Land”. This would be called The Passover for all future generations, and it celebrated three concepts, 1) the superiority of Jehovah over all other gods, 2) the freedom from bondage and 3) God redeeming man from sin.The observance also reminded them that a second deliverer [in Bible terms, the Messiah] will yet come and deliver the nation of Israel from war and oppression. This is why Passover is still one of the three main religious observances in Jewish culture.Therefore, the Passover in Moses’ time also pointed to an event about 1,300 years in his future; and that was the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our forgiveness from sin. As Jehovah delivered the Israelites from the oppressive hand of the Pharaoh and established them as a major world power, the Messiah also died to deliver humanity from the oppressive hand of eternal death.Passover: never forget it.