In my last segment, “The Crossing Over People II: Entering In,” I talked about the covenant of the blood of the Lamb. What the blood represented and what it means to enter into this covenant with God.
As we are coming up on the celebration of Passover (Pesach) in April, this is the perfect time to take a closer look at this covenant between God and man.
Though Pesach was the foreshadowing of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God for our Salvation, ultimately, it mirrors perfectly the traditional Hebrew betrothal ceremony.
In Hebrew tradition, the bridegroom would visit the bride’s family, present the bride and her father with a Ketubah, a marriage contract, which would include the “Bride Price,” the price the groom would pay to reimburse the father for his daughter. The groom would then pour a cup of wine for his intended, representing the blood covenant. If the young woman drank from the cup, she had accepted the terms of the contract. The groom would then give gifts to his intended and take his leave, announcing, “I am going to prepare a place for you. I will return for you when it is ready.” Sound familiar?
Now, here’s the thing. The bride would not just sit around after accepting the proposal, waiting for her groom to collect her. She would begin preparing herself, so that she would be pure and beautiful for her bridegroom. She would wear a veil over her face when she went out to sanctify herself, set herself apart from the world, and to announce that she had been purchased for a price. She was spoken for. She would gather her belongings with her lamp and extra oil and keep them by her bed. Ready at all times for her beloved to return and take her home.
In the case of Pesach, our Bridegroom offered His own blood for the covenant, and restored relationship with the Father as our gift.
Unfortunately, our attitude concerning the precious gift of our Bridegroom has become casual at best and flippant at worst. A genuine reverence for the Lord is practically non-existent today, replaced by an attitude of entitlement. Repentance is seldom preached from the pulpit anymore, let alone the need to think or behave any differently than we always have. But what we need to understand is, our acceptance of His gift is not a free ticket to Heaven. Once we accept the price our Bridegroom offers for our hand (and heart) in marriage, which is nothing less than His own life, it is up to us to prepare for our Bridegroom.
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’
“And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” 1 Peter 1:13-19 NKJV.
Praise God, there is another gift from our Bridegroom, the Holy Spirit, who both convicts us of our need to prepare for our Bridegroom and empowers us to do so.
A New Beginning
Up to this point, we haven’t even left the bondage of Egypt. Yet, to drive home the gravity of this marriage covenant between God and man, God commanded His people to make this month (Abib, called Nisan after the Babylonian exile) “the beginning of months,” commanding us to keep the celebration of Pesach every year for all our generations. We are never to forget where we came from (Egpyt), slaves to sin and broken relationship with our Father, and the tremendous sacrifice of love it took to restore us. More importantly, we are to celebrate the love of our God who purchased us at such a price, which was His intention all along.
The very first Passover occurred in the Garden of Eden, when the Lord himself made the first sacrifice (maybe of a lamb) to cover the rebellion of Adam and Eve.
The second Passover came when God gave Abraham a ram in place of his son Isaac, whom Abraham obediently offered to God on the altar—on the same mountain God would offer His own Son on the Cross. Both instances were prophetic shadows of God’s greater plan of Salvation and restored relationship through His Son.
The first day of Nisan marked the first day of spring, representing new life, which is exactly what the Lord gives to those who leave their old life and come under the blood of the Lamb. So, when God commanded us to demark Nisan as the first of the months, He was saying, “Behold! I make all things new! Your life begins now!” It is not a new year regarding the physical creation, rather our spiritual re-creation.
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” Romans 8:13 NKJV.
The gift of Salvation is the most awesome and profound statement of the character of the Creator of all things. As we saw in the previous installment, a life can only be redeemed with another life. The life that redeemed you was that of the Son of God.
Yet, as if this fact was of no consequence, we approach the act of asking Jesus into our hearts as a once-and-done fix-all. It makes my heart hurt to think my precious Jesus could be relegated to the function of a bandage.
God made it clear that our part in this covenant relationship was to cut away and deny the lusts and desires of the flesh and live in the supernatural. To live according to His power as opposed to our own. God reveals this in the symbolism of circumcision in Deuteronomy 10:16 and 30:6, and in Jeremiah 4:4.
“Only Adonai took enough pleasure in your ancestors to love them and choose their descendants after them — yourselves — above all peoples, as he still does today. Therefore, circumcise the foreskin of your heart; and don’t be stiffnecked any longer! For Adonai your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty and awesome God, who has no favorites and accepts no bribes” Deuteronomy 10:15-17 CJB.
Paul verifies this truth in his letters to the churches.
“Also it was in union with him that you were circumcised with a circumcision not done by human hands, but accomplished by stripping away the old nature’s control over the body. In this circumcision done by the Messiah, you were buried along with him by being immersed; and in union with him, you were also raised up along with him by God’s faithfulness that worked when he raised Yeshua from the dead” Colossians 2:11-12 CJB.
The gift of Salvation is far more than a prayer said in a moment of mass excitement or in the spirit of fear. It is a deeply personal moment—between you and the Holy Spirit—when you realize how holy this Lord is and how far you have missed the mark. It is a moment of realization that you will never be complete without Him. Because without this process of conviction and submission, you will never reach the finish line of the race that is set before you. You will never leave Egypt.
This Pesach season, we should all be asking ourselves, “Have I truly denied the world for the sake of my Bridegroom? Am I living a life that would make Him proud to be my betrothed? And, when He returns for me, will I be prepared?”
You are all in my prayers.
God’s grace and peace be yours,