Pesach (Passover) 2005
Special Sermon, Friday 25 March 2005
Grace and peace to you all this Passover in the Name of our Lord Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) and an especial welcome to our guests from the United Kingdom as we gather together for the next few days to observe one of Yahweh's most holy Appointments (Moedim). It is through these festivals that our Father in Heaven has revealed His overall Plan of Redemption for each and every soul who wants to know and live the truth, and for the Nation of Israel as a whole, which we are. Each year we pass through the same cycle of remembrances and commemorations much as we do the seasons outside. And though it may not particularly look like it here in the icy north, spring is in the air. And in the spring we commemorate Yah'shua's (Jesus') First Coming to the earth, as well as remembering events from an even earlier time, the Egyptian Exodus, which foreshadowed this First Coming. Each year we do so we find added depth and meaning as we see a cosmic pattern unfolding. Indeed there is so much one could say about each of these festivals that it would take a hundred sermons to scratch even the surface of what it is Yahweh has done, and is doing, and will do for us if we are faithful to Him.
Each year we celebrate Passover I search to understand what its application to us is today, and especially in this auspicious year, the year 2005 in the secular calendar and the year 6000 in the Hebrew. As we remind ourselves of the symbols of Passover, which we physically interacted with last night, we need to ask ourselves what they mean to us in the here and now. For Yahweh never gives His people ritual for ritual's sake - the Sabbath was made for mankind, not the other way round, and the same is true of the Passover. And how, especially, are we to use what was given under the Old Covenant in a New Covenant context?
There is great confusion in the Christian world over the Sabbath, and where there is confusion, there is always a lack of understanding. A typical argument that you hear from people is that since Christ is our Sabbath and our rest, that the purpose of the Sabbath has been fulfilled and that we therefore have no need of it. The dangerous thing about this notion is that it is a half-truth, and half-truths as we know are always far more dangerous than outright lies. For truly Yah'shua (Jesus) has fulfilled the spiritual purpose of the Sabbath ordinance inasmuch as He gives us inner rest through His atoning blood. In that respect, there are now 7 Sabbath days in every week, and not just one. He is our rest every day of the week. However, as common sense tells those who are not blinded by false doctrine, having inner rest does not mean that we automatically gain physical rest and have no need of an outward Sabbath day of rest for our bodies. Try working seven days a week and you will soon discover yourself wearing out. Nations have tried it and failed. It's so obvious that even Satan can't make people work seven days a week so what he has done has simply shifted the day forwards or backwards one day, depending whether you are a non-Messianic Christian or a Muslim.
The seventh day Sabbath was originally given to give us physical rest and to point us to the day when Messiah came when we would enjoy spiritual rest. As an eternal ordinance, sanctified and blessed by Yahweh, it stands as one of His moedim or divine appointments for all time. We are to assemble each Sabbath as congregations to meet Him. The Sabbath today is not to point to an inner rest which we are looking for, because if we have Christ then we have the Sabbath rest within (Olive Branch 102:33-45) - the Sabbath today is a divine appointment in which we are called to gather together to worship, cease our ordinary weekly activities of work and play, and to focus our energies entirely on Him. Those who reject the Seventh Day Sabbath fail to appreciate, moreover, that the Millennium, which is 'Sabbath Day' also, is not a time for either doing nothing seven days a week, or working seven days a week. The same cycle of work and worship will occur in the Millennium as it does today. So what is the difference? The difference is that in the Millennium we will always have our Christ-focus and therefore always have inner rest since there will be no more demons to tempt us and the Rule of Divine Law will be such that there will be no rebellious and disobedient people to tempt us either. But here, in a world full of sin and infested with demons, we occasionally lose our Christ-focus and therefore our inner Sabbath rest. Only repentance realigns us so that that inner rest returns.
What, then, does this have to do with Pesach or Passover? Much, I would suggest. At Chag haMatzah, which precedes the Passover, is a Sabbath day too - a day of rest. Every year we gather together and we remember the great things that Yahweh has done for us and continues to do for us. We recall the sad and pitiable state of our forefathers in bondage to a tyrant both physically and spiritually. We recall, in fact, a people very much like ourselves, who tend to wander away from truth, light and liberty when we forget the Most High. We recall a people who, when they grow careless spiritually, start resembling the paganism around them which they are supposed to be separate from. We recall, then, the call to separateness or holiness. We recall a people who, when they start imitating the ways of the pagans - consciously and unconsciously - start developing a leathery resistance to spiritual change and reformation. We recall a people who are a living paradox, because we see in them the same malady of the whole human race: we see a people who both love and hate their bondage simultaneously, hating the bondage but loving the fleshpots. And so when we turn our minds back over the generations to our forefathers in captivity, we are reminded that their captivity is not only the captivity of a world without God but also a Christian world which has mixed the truth with paganism. For this reason very few Christians celebrate Passover, for if they did, they would soon understand what it is that Yahweh wants of them and, if they are true, would soon start making radical changes in their lives. Passover, then, is a tool of reform. It is a pattern revealed by the Most High for us to follow to get into the cycle of His ways and thus into proper freedom.
The rest of the cycle of moedim or appointments explains to us exactly how we are to do this. The festivals are one of the best instruction manuals ever on the plan of salvation because they cause us to live out several small dramas. They make us rôle-play, not as the world does, but as Yahweh wants, so that we can be programmed into right thinking and right feeling. Every single detail, because it was prepared by the pen of God, is therefore significant. Nothing is redundant. Everything has a spiritual meaning that can be used to change us for the better. These Passover symbols were shown to you yesterday as we partook of the Passover Meal or Seder. Last week I invited you to seek for the spiritual meaning behind the ritual and not just to look at it as some dull religious ceremony. Everything we did yesterday has an inner parallel for the spiritual life. You will recall, for instance, how the Israelites were supposed to be prepared to leave at a moment's notice. This one little event has a kaleidoscope of vitally important and even lifesaving spiritual principles to teach us. Yah'shua (Jesus) told us we were to live as though He were returning tomorrow. Last week I told you to live each day to the full and not worry about the future. Each day then becomes a microcosm of our whole life. We should be living our whole day as though it were our whole life. Indeed that's the whole point: the way you live each day is how you will live your whole life. Your daily habits define your weekly habits, and your weekly habits your monthly habits, and so on. What a person does on a typical day tells you all about that person. Whether you use your time wisely, whether you are organised and fruitful, whether your eat sensibly, whether Yahweh is the Lord not just of your life in the abstract sense but of each and every minute. What you do each day is a signal to Yahweh, to others, and to yourself just what your spiritual life is.
The other day I met a man who openly admitted that he spent his entire day sleeping and chasing women. He lived off the state, did not work, and consumed his life force on lust. The rest of the time he slept. How did that begin? It began with a day - an ordinary day of his life - in which he made some choices to sin. And then he repeated that sin day after day, progressively getting deeper into it until he was drowning in it. His personality was ruined. There was nothing attractive in him at all. His whole life was dedicated to the pursuit of fornication and idleness. What a total waste of a life.
Other people throw their lives away in other pursuits. I know those who drown their lives in entertainment and never give a thought to others. Indeed, people mix in all sorts of things. Some of the things we do are bad and others good. You will find Christians who do the same thing because they have been fed lies about salvation. They have been deceived into believing that all you have to do is believe and after that you can pretty much do as you please. They believe they have an open, non-cancellable ticket to heaven. Now if they had been observing Yahweh's moedim or appointments they would soon become divested of that falsehood. And if they were just to celebrate Passover, they would have enough truth in their heads to know that Yahweh demands, and has demanded in all ages, nothing short of separateness and holiness. He wants a set-apart people who are not following the ways of the world in anything. He wants a people who are pure and clean inside and outside so that they can dwell in His presence and enjoy His glory and love forever. And He wants such people not just so that they can be so blessed but so that they can serve Him and bless others. For this world, steeped so deeply in sin as it is, can only be reached by lights that are brighter than their own darkness. Which brings me to an interesting concept, for did you know that the Bible speaks of 'dark light'? Yah'shua (Jesus) said this: "If ... the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matt.6:23, NKJV).
Now what on earth did He mean by that? How can light be darkness? Perhaps an illustration will help. When the Christmas and Easter seasons appear, lights start appearing everywhere too, don't they? We are surrounded by glitter and illuminations that throw off a pleasant glow and cheer the eye. And that's just the problem, because it's the eye that is illuminated, not the soul. If we read a few verses back in Yah'shua's (Jesus's) saying we will understand better what I am driving at. He says:
"The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matt.6:22-23, NKJV).
The question the Master is asking us is not whether we can see but what you are seeing and with what are you seeing? Like the Sabbath with its inner and outer rest, the Saviour is telling us that we have two kinds of sight - physical sight and spiritual sight. The eye is the perceiving organ. With it we see the world. But there is also a spiritual eye, with which we perceive invisible spiritual realities. And in that invisible world there are two kinds of illumination: genuine light and counterfeit dark light. Satan is the master counterfeiter and presents himself as an angel of light, to deceive both the inner and outer eye. Viewed as one, our eyes can seek good or that which is evil. John writes: "For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world" (1 John 2:15-16, NKJV).
Satan has glittery perversions of the truth. See how he has replaced Hanukkah and Passover with Christmas and Easter! At Christmas people are covering fir trees, which in paganism are worshipped as fertility symbols, with lights, and in some cultures they dance around the trees as they dance around pagan May poles in the summer. Satan has mixed paganism in with the Gospels, and the pagans love it. But at Hanukkah we have lights too. So what's the difference? The difference is that we light Menorahs, which symbolise the Light of Christ which is "the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world" (John 1:9, NKJV). The Christmas tree is, in fact, a symbol of the antichrist Nimrod who perversely married his mother, Semiramis, and committed blasphemy against the Most High! At Passover we light the Menorah, as we do during all the appointments, to remind us that Yah'shua (Jesus) is the Light of the World, not the counterfeit Nimrod.
Light is light but when it is used to represent evil it becomes an evil or dark light. And when we lust after this dark light, it is because our eye is bad - the way we perceive the world. And if we perceive the world wrongly, then what must we do? It is here that the Passover story is an essential part of our exodus from untruth. It here that we must see the symbols that Yahweh has given us to depict the awfulness of our condition so that we will do something about it. For when the light in us is darkness, we are truly eating bitter herbs, for we are under demonic oppression within. How can that be? Because in the soul there is what one might call a 'space', some calling a 'divine vacuum', which was made to be filled by God alone. And when we exclude God from that space, it is immediately occupied with demons who fill it with darkness - glittering counterfeit lights, like the lights on the Christmas trees - lights that mesmerise and hold us captive through the lust of the eyes but which have no spiritual substance.
The ingredients of salvation were presented to you last night when you ate the Seder. The way out of darkness and counterfeit light into the True Light was shown to you as you ate the Passover meal and performed in the other 'quaint' rituals. Everything we did last night was pregnant with meaning and depicted all the things you and I need to walk out of darkness and into the victory of the conquering Messiah. We ate an unblemished lamb, representing Yah our Salvation - Yah'shua (Jesus), the Eternal Son - reminding ourselves that we can't just live Christianity on the outside as some sort of religious formalism, but that it has to be inside and totally integrated with our personhood. That lamb you ate last night is now a part of your body - its you, and you are it, just as we are in Yah'shua (Jesus), and He is in us.
But that's not all. The Lamb was prepared in a special way. The lamb was roasted, not boiled. I wonder why that was? Well there's a reason ... of course. Water, whilst a positive symbol in most other respects, would in this context have a different effect. What is the difference in appearance between boiled lamb and roasted lamb? When it is roasted, it comes into direct contact with fire so that its surface is slightly burned and hard while the inside is soft. When you boil lamb, it is soft everywhere. Yah'shua (Jesus) is both 'hard' and 'soft'. What do I mean by that? He is soft because He is "full of grace" (John 1:14) but he is hard because he is also "full ... of truth" (Ibid.) And sometimes the truth can be tough ... really tough. Have you noticed that scripture in the opening verses of John's Gospel? Here, let me read it to you again:
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14, NKJV).
Have you got that? "Full of grace and truth"! Most Christians go around living a Gospel that is full of just grace, love and good feelings. For them that is the Truth but they are in error. For Yahweh's Truth is revealed in His Torah - therefore Yah'shua (Jesus) - as He proved by His immaculate life - was filled with both love and Torah. And that is what makes the critical difference between the false existentialist gospel which is driven by feelings and 'experience' and the One that is driven by Torah-Truth. Once you leave the 'truth' element out, you're soon off the railway track of Torah and into 'dark light' - the light of unredeemed feelings and passions. It is the error of modern Christianity and many of our people have come in with that mindframe - which is why they must be roasted as opposed to gently boiled.
The true Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) roasts you alive in the fire of truth. The counterfeit spirits of watered-down Christianity present a deceptive 'soft option' which is no option at all, because it leaves you half in Egypt and half in the Kingdom, which thing is impossible, so what actually happens is that you remain in Egypt. How Satan has deceived so many millions with his 'grace-only' lie! Yah'shua (Jesus) was filled with "grace and truth" and so must you and I. Yah'shua was filled with "love and Torah" and so must you and I! That is one reason we roast the lamb and not boil it, or worse still, eat it raw. We must all pass through the fire of affliction to get the dross of Egypt burned out of us because boiling won't do it. Why do you think Yahweh used the same picture of fire in Malachi? Listen:
"He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver;
He will purify the sons of Levi,
And purge them as gold and silver,
That they may offer to Yahweh
An offering in righteousness"
The sons of Levi were the priesthood of the Old Covenant. That priesthood has now been set aside and the Melchizedek Priesthood established, with Yah'shua (Jesus) as the High Priest. Who are the priesthood today? Believers! We are that royal priesthood! And how are we to be refined? With fire! - love mingled with hefty dollops of truth - in fact, the whole truth and the whole Torah.
The carnal nature is the part of us which always chooses the 'soft option', the option that doesn't work even though it gives the appearance or working. You can't purify gold and silver by boiling it - you have to smelt it. To be changed into the image of Christ we must all be smelted in the fire of truth and then 'solidified' into new creatures. Yah'shua (Jesus) showed us that path - that way - and claimed He was the Way to be followed. Passover reminds us, in its many symbols, that that way remains strait and narrow and tough, but it also reminds us that when we follow that Way, miracles happens. The way across the Red Sea was a narrow one too - Yahweh ordained only one spot to cross over and if the children of Israel had assembled elsewhere, they would never have crossed. The Gospel is not broad and crooked as the false gospels would teach you, for this is the way to destruction. It is a narrow path we are called to walk, defined by Torah and bounded on either side by the salvation of Yah'shua (Jesus), and few there are who find it. If you are not on it, I urge you to do so quickly, before the Egyptian army descends on you. Stragglers are the easiest troops in an army to be picked off by Satan, so stay with the main body and walk the narrow path.
May you have a blessed Pesach as you meditate on the things of Passover. Tomorrow morning we shall gather for the normal Sabbath and talk about Chag haMatazah - the Feast of Unleavened Bread. May you rest inwardly and outwardly today and enjoy the appointment we have been given to meet with our Heavenly Father in this unique annual event. Amen.
This page was created on 5 June 2005
Last updated on 5 June 2005
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