The devil is a defiler. He tries to distract us from God by calling our identity into question. “If thou be the Son of God,” he said to Jesus in the wilderness. If we take his bait, we disobey God and our conscience becomes defiled. But he couldn’t shake our Lord. Jesus was secure in His identity. He had the word from the Father, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” With full assurance of faith, He countered each of satan’s attacks with “It is written.”
When our own conscience accuses us, worshipping God is not only difficult; it can be downright frightening. Without a means of being cleansed, we are left with only two approaches. We either cry out with Isaiah that we are unclean and undone and stand in jeopardy of death in the face of a holy God or we harden our hearts and allow our conscience to be seared. Our heavenly Father has given us the blood of the Son so that we need not do either. Christ died unto sin once that we might be alive unto God.
Like the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement, these two birds represent one sacrifice, but since they couldn’t kill a bird and bring it back to life again, two birds had to be used. One died as a result of sin; the other was set free, representing the liberty we have when our sins have been washed away.
Staying clean can be a dirty business. When Israelites became unclean through sin, disease, or simple contact with unclean things, they would have to be cleansed before they could once again worship with the covenant community. Sometimes this meant a simple washing. But most often it meant sacrifice and blood for “almost all things are by the law purged with blood.” And then, there was the most curious cleansing agent of all—the ashes of a heifer.
In both Covenants (Old and New) real blood was spilled and then verbally enjoined. After speaking all the precepts of the Law to the people, Moses sprinkled the blood of bulls and goats on the book and the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has enjoined unto you.” After living and speaking all the precepts of the New Covenant, Jesus declared, “This is my blood of the covenant.” They each gave voice to the blood.
The revelation received on Mount Sinai and its centuries of outworking that culminated in the temple worship system all pointed to the work which Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the cross. Among New Testament books and epistles, the book of Hebrews stands out as the most explicit exposition of Jesus Christ as the full antitype of the types expounded in the Law.
Perhaps it is because we tend to refer to this meal as the Last Supper that we lose sight of its connection with the Passover. How is one to contemplate on the deliverance from Egypt, protection from the evil one, atonement from the Holy One, and fellowship with our heavenly Father expressed in a communal meal when we have reduced the whole affair to a tiny cup of juice and a scrap of bread consumed in a cold pew?
Of the five general types of sacrifices (burnt, peace, trespass, grain, and sin), the peace offering resembles the Passover the most. The peace offering is also referred to as the fellowship offering because of the fellowship it brought with God and the company they enjoyed with one another.
It would be a mistake to judge later Passovers by the requirements God gave Moses in Egypt, for there are many differences between them. The original Passover was eaten with feet shod, staff in hand, in expectation of the Exodus. In the days of Jesus, the memorial Passover was eaten while reclining in celebration of their deliverance from slavery and their rest in the Land.
What was the ultimate purpose of the Passover? Was it only for protection from the destroyer? Surely, the plague was …